Baby gear: don’t waste your money on these items!

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When we’re pregnant and under the influence of a rush of hormones, we all tend to get carried away and buy everything that we see on the shelves of BabiesRUs. However, we really don’t need all of that stuff, and some of the baby gear simply is a waste of our dollars. Here’s a list of baby items to avoid buying for safety reasons, or simply to protect your wallet. We can all understand the distinction between what’s  “must have”, “nice to have”, or simply useless baby gear. I’m just trying to give you a headstart, and avoid some of the mistakes other moms and myself have made!

1) A bottle sterilizer
Many parents may use it once or twice, then it will sit on the kitchen counter collecting dust. Just get a sturdy bottle brush (a large one for the containers and a small to clean the bottle nipples) and you’ll be all set. Also, for all of you worried about germs out there, most newer dishwashers offer a “sanitize” cycle that will do the same job as a bottle sterilizer, without all of the extra parts to clean or dry, so it’s a great way to make good use of it! Also many pediatricians agree that hot water and soap achieve the same goal (unless you’re dealing with special circumstances, like thrush).

2) A wipe warmer
Yes, I’m sure your baby’s butt would enjoy a warm wipe when it’s cold in the house, but honestly, the wiping part lasts about 10 seconds and the wipe gets cold as soon as it’s out of the box. It may be wiser to use your dollars to buy some diapers and wipes instead, save electricity, and eliminate the potential fire hazard from the baby’s bedroom.

3) A crib with moving parts
I’m not sure why crib manufacturers keep making crib with moving parts when week after week, I hear of a new recall due to entrapment, strangulation, you name it (see the latest recall of over 2 million drop-side cribs on June 24, 2010). My husband tells me they are made for short moms who can’t reach all of the way down to lift their babies. However most cribs, drop-side of fixed-side) allow you to place the mattress at a higher level as long as your baby doesn’t sit up on his/her own. When your baby reaches that stage, it’s easy to bring the mattress down and the baby can sit up for you to pick him up. So I would recommend getting a crib with fixed sides and no moving parts. They’re cheaper (Ikea offers a few models that are safe and reasonably prices) and there’s no worry about your baby getting trapped while fiddling with the sides. And before spending $500 on a crib, consider buying one for $200 and putting the other $300 you were planning to spend in a college savings account.

4) Bumper pads for the crib
Yes, they’re cute and go with the blanket, lamp, wall border, etc that go with the theme of the baby’s room. They’re also a safety hazard for a baby to suffocate in. You’re right to be worried about your baby getting his hands, arms, feet or legs stuck between the crib bars, because it will happen (babies and young children seem to get stuck in the strangest places all the time!). That’s why I suggest buying something like a breathable crib bumper that will protect the baby’s limbs but will not prevent her from breathing.

5) A playard
Alright, moms, I hear you screaming loud and clear! Yes, we like to use the playard as a safe area to keep your baby but it sometimes, it’s just used as a confinement area (I like to call it “Baby Gitmo”!). Unless the baby needs somewhere to sleep in when you’re outside of the home, you could probably do without one. When a baby is not mobile yet, they can’t go anywhere on their own. A large blanket with toys will often do, and she’ll be able to see you moving around in the room with no obstructed view. Worried about older siblings or pets? Well, it’s time to lay down the rules. My youngest had to deal with a rambuctious brother and two cats that loved to exercise by jumping over his body as he lay down on his back or belly. We had to teach his brother to give him some space, and we let the cats enjoy their jumping stunts until they realized one day that the baby could reach out and pull their hair… I do understand that big dogs could be an issue, so a playard would be a safety device worth having. When the baby can crawl, a better solution could be an exersaucer or a similar device. When a baby is old enough to hold his head and torso together, using an exersaucer or something similar a few minutes a day provides a good workout. Also, it’s a great way to position your baby upright and close to you, again, with an unobstructed view.

6) Fancy brand diapers
Reality will sink in within a couple of days of your baby’s birth. Your newborn will pretty much need a new diaper every hour. Yep, that’s how often babies poop in the beginning! So save your money and go for the store brand until you can keep a diaper on your baby’s butt for several hours. I actually used Pampers diapers overnight as they really kept my baby’s butt dry and avoided diaper rash. Babies’ skins vary and may like one diaper material more than another, so keep your options open.

7) Brand name formula
If you decide not to breastfeed (and you should really try it before you decide to go with formula), please don’t waste your money on fancy brand names unless medically necessary. Walmart, Target and BabiesRUs formulas contain exactly the same ingredients and cost half as much. I personally don’t see a need to support the baby formula manufacturing market – it’s powerful enough already!

8) A baby sling
Yes, many moms like to use slings, but be aware that not all babies actually like them. Slings have also come under suspicion recently as being unsafe by causing breathing issues, leading to death by suffocation (just search how many recalls exist for slings on the US Consumer Product Safety Report Commission website, and you’ll see what I mean). I can suggest a “harness” instead and make sure you read the instructions to properly use it. Babies like to gently bounce and the harness will do the job, without interfering with the baby’s breathing. A harness or baby carrier is also more convenient when you want to walk at a sustained pace and center the baby’s weight directly in front of you.

9) A walker
I have to say, I don’t understand why manufacturers continue to produce walkers, as they have proved to be unsafe and unnecessary. If you want your little one to be confined in an upright position for a few minutes, use an exersaucer or a similar device. They offer 360 degree activities just like a walker and are a great way for your baby to develop core muscles necessary for learning to walk. A jumperoo is also a great workout piece and will provide sustained entertainment. At our house, we actually renamed it the “pooperoo” as it made our babies poop every time they started bouncing around in there! No matter the baby gear used, it should only be for a few minutes at a time, since floor time is the best exercise.

10) A bumbo seat
This piece of foam may become useless within a couple of months after you start using it. Your baby will so quickly try to crawl out of it as she becomes more mobile, you’ll wonder why you ever bought it! It can also be a safety hazard, as many parents have placed a baby in a bimbo seat on a table or counter (I guess to see better, rather than be on the floor), allowing the possibility of the baby tilting the bimbo seat and falling all the way down. Check out the Bumbo Seat recall due to many head injuries. If you need your baby to be sitting, just use a high chair, no need to be fancy.

11) A $300 “designer” stroller
I really don’t think spending $100 or $300 on a stroller will really matter, except to your bank account. As long as the stroller is light, easy to maneuver and easy to fold, it will do the job. You can get a basic stroller, or a travel system, which includes the infant car seat for convenience. Just be aware that you’ll have to buy a larger car seat by the time your baby is 9 to 12 months old, depending on how tall and heavy he gets. For heavy stroller users (tough terrain, long hikes and jogging) slurge on a high-quality stroller that will last you a few years. I recommend Bob and Baby Jogger for those purposes. Always register your stroller with the manufacturer so that you get a notice in case it is recalled.

12) Baby videos
Study after study have proven that sitting your baby in front of the TV playing hours of videos specially “made for babies” won’t make your baby smarter. It may actually dumb her down! Humans are meant to learn by interaction, and TV is the #1 passive element in your house. Babies learn to talk by looking at your lips and hearing you say words. Playing flashcards on the screen without babies seeing lips will nullify that effect. Interaction between a parent and a baby is best. Talking to your baby, telling her what you’re doing, showing her objects and naming them is what will quickly develop that little brain. You’ll be amazed how interested she becomes in your day-to-day activities. Avoid TV before the age of two, or even three. If babies don’t know it’s there, they won’t miss it a bit!

Now, there is plenty of essential baby gear you should buy, but my top recommendation is bibs and/or burp cloths! Babies love to spit, and drool, and barf, and if you don’t want to change onesies at every feeding, bibs and burp cloths will be your best friends.

Finally, I recommend you don’t ever go cheap on safety! Use safety gates at the top AND the bottom of the stairs when baby becomes mobile. I also avoid buying safety equipment (car seats, safety gates, high chairs, etc) second hand, as they may have been recalled and you may not know about it at the time of purchase. For peace of mind (and because you WILL use it), sign up for email recall notificiation on the US Consumer Product Safety Commission website ( I signed up for it a few years ago and actually found out about recalls on several pieces of my baby gear, so it’s worth staying informed.

Is there any other baby equipment you can think of is a waste of money and/or a waste of space? I’ll be glad to see your contributions.

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217 responses to “Baby gear: don’t waste your money on these items!

  1. Great list! I especially agree with the bumper pads!

    For us, the Diaper Champ became a waste of money since 1) our trash collection comes twice a week and 2) it gave us a false sense of security because eventually, you’re going to have to remove the diapers that have been stewing in there for a while.

    • Thanks, Pop for the feedback. We had a Diaper Genie and actually used it quite a lot, as it features scented plastic liners, which covered the smell quite well. But we never did the twist and turn for every diaper, as we realized we were just wasting lots of lining, so only for the smelly ones.

      • I love the Diaper Genie Elite, I am 5′ 9 1/2″, and it was wonderful considering I had a c-section 2wks ago, its tall enough that I did not have to bend over and it has a foot opener. I live on 2nd flr and could not go to outside trash can all the time in the snowy winter, it contained the smell for three days (didn’t want to chance it more than that) and such good use. Also, if you plan to buy one, look inside the box while in the store and there are COUPONS for the diaper genie elite, $5 off, and 2-$1 off for the refills. I saved a bundle when Babaies R Us had a sale on those items.

      • Why waste your money on brand name disposable diapers and genies. Use cloth! Nothing like not having all those nasty chemicals next to your baby’s bum. Save oil, money, and actually get to know your kid through their inner workings instead of just bagging everyting up in plastic. What a waste!!

  2. Bimbo seat..LOL I actually have a Bumbo Seat, but only because I borrowed it from a friend to use for 2 months, not because I would waste $40 on a piece of foam!
    I like your list, and agree with most everything. I teach baby care and safety classes at our local hospital and we go over quite a list of “nice-to have’s” and “need-to have’s” that moms and dads are always appreciative of.
    I have to disagree with the TV recommendation. We did have a couple of Baby Einstein videos for my daughter, but she quickly outgrew them. I started out motherhood listening to the AAP recommend on tv viewing, but I am absolutely convinced that my 2 1/2 year old would be not be as smart as she is right now without those shows we let her watch. TV should not be a babysitter, but it can be a very good teaching tool when the right shows are viewed.
    I would like to second “pop” on the diaper pail. We used ours once, and I hated it. Even the non-messy diapers gave off a horrible stench when you finally emptied the thing. And since most of our diaper changes were outside the nursery anyway, the dipes went right in the regular trash. Wish I would not have wasted my money on that!
    I would also like to add one thing to your list…
    A $300 car seat! As a car seat technician, I have seen too many parents dump hundreds of dollars into a car seat thinking it is “the best” when it actually isn’t. The $40 model is just as safe as the $300 model as long as it is installed and used correctly! I cannot for the life of me figure out why people spend $300 on an infant only car seat either…at least with the toddler seat, they get a few years out of it. But $300 for a car seat most babies outgrow between 6-8 months? What a waste!

    • Thanks, Kelly, for your valuable input. I think you nailed it by mentioning that there are “must have” and “nice to have” baby items. Is it nice to have a bottle sterilizer? Sure, but if you ask any common-sense pediatrician, they’ll tell you that hot water and soap work just as well. So many first-time moms agonize about getting the best for their babies that you’re right, they end up skipping on safety. My personal motto is safety first and that should be the criteria for selecting most baby equipment. And thank you for mentioning that all car seats are safe. It’s way more important to install the seat correctly (according to some statistics, most car seats are NOT), and to strap the baby in correctly too. I can’t believe how many times I’ve seen a baby in an infant seat with very loose straps and the harness buckle on the tummy instead of the chest.
      As for your comment on baby videos, I think you’re giving them way too much credit, and not enough to yourself! My kids are quite smart and they did watch TV until the oldest was about 3. They actually showed no interest in it until that age. I think parent interaction is key to baby development, and I can bet that you’ve been a very interactive mom. And yes, TV after a certain age can be very useful, as Sesame Street has proven it again and again.
      Thanks for your post and come back for more!

      • The ultimate waste of time and money is a diaper stacker. My daughter-in-law never used the changing table, wipe warmer, video monitor, sling, or the diaper genie – but she would have been very disappointed if she didn’t get them. The bottle sterilizer was used once.

        Talk to your pediatrician about formula and check your local library for childrens videos and CDs.

      • Thanks for mentioning the local library for more than books. It’s a great resource for educational as well as entertaining movies and music.

    • What is essential and what is a waste depends on your circumstances and lifestyle. We did a lot of traveling when I was a child, sometimes in crowded third world countries where we didn’t speak the language. My mother used a harness on my energetic 3 year old brother, but i never needed one for my children. I couldn’t have gotten by without a changing table, but my daughter-in-law never used hers. We have a jumperoo for my grand daughter. She absolutely loves it, but hates a similar model at her house.

      The bottom line is use what you need to keep children healthy, happy, and safe – within reason.

  3. I wholeheartedly agree with most of the items on this list. However, I absolutely disagree with your assessment of the sling. We used our slings every single day, sometimes for hours, until Jason was about 15 months old. Jason was a needy baby who couldn’t be set down in a bouncy seat, stroller, playmat, etc. without screaming. He needed to be up and with me constantly. Without our sling, I would have had to carry him everywhere. With him in the sling, I could do housework, make lunch, push my older child on the swing, run errands, etc.

    For what it’s worth, we never used the cradle hold which is the only hold where there been some issues with babies suffocating. We only did the tummy to tummy hold and when he got older, the baby facing out and hip carry holds.

    What exactly do you mean by a harness anyway? Like a Baby Bjorn type carrier?

    • Dana, thanks for your feedback. Yes, I mean a harness like a Baby Bjorn carrier. I want to warn other moms about slings because it may work for some babies (who love to cuddle), but not others. Unless they can try it out and figure out if it should become a household item for them. And yes, moms need to be extra careful when using a sling to avoid any position where the baby could run out of air.

      • Baby Bjorn carriers are actually not recommended due to the pressure placed on the spine. If you are going to recommend a carrier I would shy away from this one!

      • Sue, thanks for your feedback. I could see why the Baby Bjorn carrier could be an issue. Do you have a baby carrier you can recommend to the other moms out there?

      • Great to see the discussion on baby gear. I’ve now learned not to stick my foot in my mouth when it comes to baby stuff b/c parents and kids are so different and what works for one family may not work for another. Thankfully, there are so many choices out there.

        As far as a carrier, we used the Baby Ergo carrier and we LOVED it
        My daughter is 2yo+ and a little less than 30lbs, and she still fits comfortably in it. For infants, however, you have to buy an infant insert.
        We also used the Over the Shoulder Baby Holder in the beginning, which my daughter wasn’t a huge fan of once she got bigger (1yo+) b/c we had a hard time getting her in once she became very active. But for the first few months, we loved it.

      • I do welcome the discussion too, because some parents can probably recommend some great products! I think I’ll start a post at some point of the “baby products you can’t do without”, because there are definitely some items I found out about way later than when I needed them.
        Thanks for the input on the Ergo Baby Carrier, it looks like a great system!
        And I do recommend all moms (and dads) out there to take advantage of all of the hand-me-downs, especially if they are free. This allows you to get a lot more baby gear without the expense (I’d still skip the wipe warmer!). Always keep an eye on safety though, and make sure the product hasn’t been recalled in the past.

      • I also LOVE the Ergo carrier. I had originally purchased the baby bjorn and used it for a couple months…then I was introducted to the Ergo and have never looked back.

        I was one of those first time mom’s that felt like I needed all those items. Then reality hit pretty hard when we only used them once or twice…thank goodness for Craigslist!

      • i gave a Moby baby wrap to my best friend who is a first time mom and she cant get enough of it. yes in the end it is just a long piece of cloth but its the way you tie it that is most important. from what i have read there are 6 different ways to tie it that each hold baby differently. she wares it all day long whether her son is in it or not. what she loves is the weight of the baby is not centered on small straps. the cloth holds the weight spread over her whole upper body so there is no pain. i will be geting one for me soon. one other point is that most baby carrier are NOT made for anyone over size 18! if (like me) you are not a small mother don’t wast your money on slings and the like. also most men cant ware them ether.. i don’t know about you but i want my husband to pole his weight on walks and outings. the moby is made to fit anyone! it is about 5 meters long (that’s almost 18 feet!) in my opinion if you need to carry your baby the moby is the way to do it! i hope this helps. thanks for the great list!!

      • If you are a plus-sized Mama & you want to use a ring sling, just find someone who has even basic knowledge of what to do with a sewing machine. They are VERY basic sewing. Most of the ready-made ones are 2 to 2 1/2 yards long. I wear about a size 20, and a 3 yard long sling is plenty long even when I’m toting a 2 year-old in it. 2 1/2 yards works okay for a little baby, but not a larger one. has directions to make a ring sling–seriously, if you can manage to use a sewing machine AT ALL, this is a project you can handle. And you’ll save yourself a few bucks, besides.

      • Someone mentioned the Moby wraps. I have a wrap that I made myself. It was way cheaper and works just as good. Just find a breathable stretchy lightweight cloth at a fabric store. Buy 3 yards, cut it in half lengthwise and then sew the two pieces together on the short end. Now you have a six yard by about 20 inches piece of fabric ready to hold your baby. I use mine often especially with three children. It really helps with grocery shopping.

    • I would _totally_ disagree on the carseat issue. I’m not a “carseat tech”. I am a Mom with 2 kids that frequently goes places more than 15 minutes away from home, and there are several things I greatly appreciate about the higher end carseats (and I spent a _bunch_ of time comparison shopping before I got out my wallet). 1. The tech is just wrong about the safety issue–while all carseats have to meet federal standards, the higher end ones usually exceed them, and are more likely to be the first ones out with the safety features the feds will be requiring in a few years. 2. We go on longer trips, which means my kids spend time in their seats. I checked out every seat I could actually find to see in person and the ones I bought were hands-down the best padded, most comfortable-seeming seats out there. Some of the cheap ones were so poorly padded that you could feel plastic bumps through the seat padding. I wouldn’t want to sit on that for an hour, and I assume neither would my kids. 3. Ease of use–seat belts that don’t twist up and tangle, buckles that are easy to put together, covers that come on and off easily to run through the washing machine, installation routines that are easy to get right, straps and headrests that have lots of adjustments & those adjustments are easily made.

      I DO have a “don’t waste your money” in the car seat department, though: the infant car seats that are also carriers. The convertible car seat you’re going to have to buy in a few months anyway will work from 5 pounds up, it is not safe to leave your baby in these seats longer than necessary, as the positioning is bad, and they are NOT very safe in an accident. I was in an accident, at highway speeds, on what turned out to be the day before my daughter was born (the wreck broke my water at 35 weeks). I had installed the carrier seat the day before–properly. In the accident, it detached from its base and ended up on the back of the back seat of my station wagon. You couldn’t pay me to use one of those things.

      • Actually, most techs do NOT recommend convertible seats for newborns. The shoulder straps generally can’t be adjusted low enough to properly fit a newborn, unless you have an incredibly tall one. A properly installed infant seat — one that has been double-checked by a tech — is generally considered safest. (And incidentally, they’re MUCH easier to move kids around in when they’re in that fall-asleep-in-the-car phase. I also find it much easier to buckle floppy new babies into infant seats OUTSIDE the car to ensure a good fit rather than putting them in a rear-facing convertible, which can be a hassle.)

      • I believe car seats is one of those baby gear items most parents will / should “splurge” on, for safety, comfort and convenience. We just bought some booster convertible seats, which basically are convertible seats that turn into boosters. My oldest is growing out of his convertible seat in height but is way too skinny to use a booster seat only. So he’ll get to be in a harness for a little longer, even though he’ll be five in a few months. Not good for our wallet but good for safety.

      • As I said–I found out luckily not the hardest way, but I had my nose rubbed in it, what happens to one of those seats in an accident at highway speeds. I won’t have anything to do with them. I had a Britax Roundabout, and put my newborn straight into it–and the straps fit just as well as an infant seat would have, even on a 6 pound baby. Now, I have a Britax Diplomat as a baby seat, a Wizard as the next step up, and, since we will need to do the carseat shuffle when the new baby is born in August, plan on buying either a Britax Frontier, or possibly the Sunshine Radian XTSL for my almost 4-year-old (the baby born early as a result of that wreck) soon (shopping for a good deal)

        I’ve never had a problem popping a sleeping baby out of the carseat and into a sling–if they wake up, they will usually nurse a little and go right back to sleep. And I’m 5’2″, so getting a baby into a carseat while it’s in the car isn’t too much contorting for me.

    • I love my Moby Wrap for a baby carrier, it’s many in one. It takes a little finesse at first to figure out how to get it on, but after you get that down it’s awesome. It also works for little babies or older kiddos, I definitely love mine. Not a need, but something that’s really, really nice to have!

      • i agree with u shannon i love love LOVE my moby. my 3 yr old BEGS me to use it with the hip carry and we walk to the park with it on.. i know she can walk and she does but usually she ends up getting tired and takes a ride on my hip anyway. shes around 25 pounds and throws a fit about strollers. she is one of those snuggle me babies. i had a baby bijorn and a moby like wrap from babies r us that had rings on it too for some reason and i had a snuggli carrier too and out of them all i liked the moby the best. i was soooo lucky when i found mine believe it or not i got mine at the goodwill new still sealed in the cloth bag it came in for only 20 dollars. its the plain black one but i was so excited cause i want one more baby and i wil have it for that one too! i agree with the diaper genie too i just got a regular flip top trash can for the whole house garbage and put arm and hammer kitty litter deoderizer in the can when it started to smell or took it out. and i got a sterilizer too and never used it once. i did use a bottle warmer a lot tho cause i breastfed and if i used a bottle or her caregiver did the bottle was either frozen or refrigerated previously expressed milk and u cant microwave breastmilk. and i had a pack and play for a long time for my daughter too i thnked god for it when my crib got recalled and we couldnt afford a new crib. she has a regular toddler bed now.

    • I have to agree with Dana on this one. My husband and I had bought a snugli when it was on sale at babies r us and I dispise it. My daughter has acid reflux so she prefers to be carried and cuddled all day so at first i was using the snugli but I started to notice I was walking like I was pregnant again to compensate for the extra weight and anytime I bent over to pick something up I had to have one hand on my daughter because she would hang so far away from my body. So my husband and I went to babies r us to try out a wrap and I couldn”t believe how light she felt and how close she stayed to my body. Harnesses or snugli’s are actually known to be unhealthy for your babies hip development because it causes their legs to hang straight down where as a wrap holds their legs in a seated position which is healthier especially when they are learning to sit.

  4. A good list overall but I would have to say I could not live without my $$ stroller. We live on a dirt road and your average stroller just does not cut it. I would be trapped driving to take my little guy for a walk. We have a BOB and it is one of the best investment pieces of baby gear we have. I’m also still using my slings for my 13 month old. He can sit upright in them now and they are a perfect way to hold him on my hip for a quick dash into the store. We have an Ergo too and love it. Something I would add to this list, jarred baby food. Even the full time working moms I know have found a food processor and steam basket so much easier, heathlier and cheaper!

  5. I agree mostly. Wipe warmer lol. But I could not have done without my drop side crib. I am short and have a bad back and even at the highest point the mattress was never high enough for me. Also I love my moby wrap and sling.
    I would add recieving blankets to your list. I was never sure what they were for. You can’t swaddle the baby in them and too big for burp cloths ( which I don’t use either).
    Great list.

    • Hi Rebekah, thanks for sharing your thoughts. I just want moms to be extra careful when shopping for and using slings, because they can be misused and cause serious health issues. Regarding the receiving blankets, I have to agree since most of them are too small for swaddling. However, I found a couple of sets one day that were big enough (42″x42″) which were perfect to swaddle my babies until they got old enough to not want to be swaddled anymore.
      Thanks again and come back for more!

      • On the sling issue, I would be totally opposite of your recommendation. Not only do the harnesses have issues with baby’s hip development, they simply aren’t useful very long. Slings are safe if used correctly (obviously not the recalled model–that’s why it was recalled). I have a 3 year-old and a 20 month-old, and the last time I used a sling was…yesterday! It was a great way to keep a somewhat sleepy little guy out of the stuff at a rummage sale. When I had a newborn and an 18 month-old, it made the impossible possible. I could push my little girl in a cart through Costco, doing my shopping, while nursing the baby discreetly in the sling. This worked so well that I often had to warn ladies that wanted to peek at the baby that he was eating! And when I only had one baby, we had our own business, and I could put her in the sling and keep right on working. Baby was happy, with Mama, and Mama could get done what she needed to get done. A pair of slings (I’m and experienced seamstress & make them myself) is my standard baby gift–one to wash and one to use.

        And I cloth diaper, so a diaper pail (a real one, NOT a diaper genie) is essential.

  6. Most of those I agree with. I have a 14 month old girl and a 3 week old boy. Every time we put a cold wipe to our 3 week olds bottom he screams so we did buy a wipe warmer and he is happy now. We bought a play yard (in black) for our first (we did need it for her to sleep in on the go) and now we are using it in our bedroom as a bassinet. We have tried store brand diapers and they do not hold “it” in like the name brands. We have lost many outfits and are happy with spending more for name brands. The Bumbo we have has been passed around several times and I’m sure has gotten it’s moneys worth (though we didn’t spend anything on it). Have you tried the new diaper pail? Every now and then if you have a stinky one in there you can smell it when you put a new one in but we are happy with it.

    In regards to receiving blankets, I use them for burping cloths. I don’t like how small burping cloths are so I fold the receiving blankets in half and they are perfect.

    • Thanks for your advice on receiving blankets, Amanda. It seems that burp cloths are shrinking more and more. I guess it’s to force you to buy more of them!

      • The best burp cloths are flatfold cloth diapers. They’re also the cheapest. And in the days before everyone used wipes even at home (I’m closer to 40 than 30, and did a lot of babysitting as a kid, so I remember), people just used to wash bottoms with washcloths wet with warm water at the sink. Wipes weren’t that great (they were all like the ones you can get at Dollar Tree), and people really only used them for traveling). You can get a few dozen cheap washcloths at Wal-mart or Target for under $10 and you’re good to go at home till your baby is potty-trained. Rinse ’em out after you change the baby & wash on hot.

      • I have to say that receiving blankets were really handy when I had my 2 kids over 30 years ago. They’ve since shrunk in size and they are thin as well. For my daughter’s upcoming first baby I am making the blankets. You can get flannel in lots of different colors and patterns and if you look carefully you can get them in a wide fabric so that you can make them as big as you were talking about. They only take a little more than a yard and for those grandmas out there, you can add crochet edges to make them extra fancy. The nice thing about these lightweight blankets is they can be used for so many things.
        They make great shade covers for those less expensive strollers that don’t shade the baby well. They make a good change pad in a pinch, great burp cloths, and are great for a light cover up in the car for even bigger brother or sister. My kids played with them later, using them as capes or other made up costumes. (Of course, that was in the days when kids used their imagination to entertain themselves.) My youngest was probably at least 8 years old before I passed them on to friends. Remember, another good way to save $$ is to find items that have more than one use.

  7. Wipe warmers are a fire hazard and not really needed. You can hold the wipe in your hand for a few moments to take away the cold (yes we are 98.6 degree bodies). Our ancestors survived without most of this stuff and we all turned out ok. None of us have emotional scarring from the “cold” wipes, lol.

    • Thanks, Michelle, I wholeheartedly agree with you on surviving the trauma of cold wipes! If moms had to worry about that, then they’d probably keep their baby in a bubble for many years after that to try to protect them.

    • Michelle,

      Our ancestors grew up without seatbelts too, I remember riding in my father’s pickup truck. With my siblings, there was not even a seat for me, so I would ride on the floor panel. Just saying the wisdom of the old days is not always something you want to rely on…

  8. Hi, there are few things that I agree with but there are few I strongly disagree with..
    I don’t know how much reading you’ve actually done on the topic of excersaucers, but I definitely wouldn’t recommend them. they do exercise the baby’s muscles, but not the ones that baby actually uses for walking, therefore it’s pretty much useless. I was actually thinking of buying one, thinking I might help my daughter learn to walk faster, but then I’ve found out that the only benefit of an excersaucer is to give mom a break – well, that’s not what I wanted so we don’t have one. I’ve actually found out, that there are studies that prove, that using exersaucers delays baby’s motor development.

    Now about the strollers. Inexpensive strollers a d travel systems are not made for newborns. Babies are not able to PROPERLY use them until they can sit up. You could say, that you could use a car seat with the travel system. But car seats are supposed to be used just for what they are, traveling in the car. I hate seeing babies, spending so much time in car seats nowadays. So not good for their spine and overall motor skill development. I’ve purchased a $300 stroller, where my baby can lay on a flat surface and later on I can raise the bottom so she can sit there up. I think it’s definitely worth it, if you’re planning on going out with your little baby – and you should, because everybody needs some fresh air.

    One item that I thought is a waste of money is a baby swing. Our baby girl has a infant seat and barely uses it at all – I just put her in it when I need to take a shower, that’s it.. swings take to much space and I don’t really see any benefit of having them..

    • I’m not sure about exersaucers and walkers delaying baby’s walking development. I think people plop babies into walkers and expect them to walk at 8 months. Both of my kids walked at 10 and 9 months respectively and even though they spend some time in an exersaucer and a jumperoo, I don’t think it helped or hinder their development. They had tons of floor time and plenty of motivation (mostly chasing cats), which is what I believe helped them the most.
      As for the infant car seat, I completely agree with you that babies spend way too much time in them, and THAT is what delays physical development. Babies spend so much time in restrained positions that they don’t exercise their muscles enough. It’s time to let babies free to move around!

      • not a new mom anymore

        As far as the studies that show exersaucer and development- one study is based on the fact that MOST parents that buy exersaucers/ walkers and actually use them on a regular basis leave their kids in them for excessive periods of time which might obviously hinder development. Additionally another study found that if kids spend more than 15min/day in an exersaucer they were more likely to have a shortened tendon between their calf and foot which would obviously delay walking and potentially encourage “toe walking”.

      • I agree with you – like everything else this type of baby equipment must be used in moderation. I hear of some babies who spend so much time strapped into an infant car seat that they develop extreme flat spots and have little muscle build-up.

    • I have one of the tabletop-style swings, bought secondhand, which gets enough use to justify storing it (& it folds up small and flat). What I don’t seem to use much is a bouncy seat.

      • I use my bouncy seat for taking a shower. I put her in it and set it in the middle of the bathroom floor, where she sits happily while I shower. Without it, she would have a very stinky mommy. Plus, I got it free from a friend.

      • That’s what I did too, until my babies were to wiggly to stay in.

  9. I could write a huge response to this, but I will try to avoid hijacking your blog. Some of the items in your list I have never owned nor tried, so I obviously agree. In you list, I own a crib with moving parts, a play yard, a baby sling, a baby walker, and baby videos. The crib came from Craigslist. I paid $50 and got the crib, the mattress, a linen set, a mobile, and something that attached to the side to entertain the baby, but never used it. It isn’t the prettiest crib in the world, but I make sure it is not on the recall list, and I feel it is quite safe. I am glad the rail comes down–makes life a little easier.

    I paid $2 for the play yard at a garage sale. I bet I can count on one hand the times I have really used it. For $2, it was a great buy, but I am sure glad I did not actually spend any money on it.

    I have an Infantino baby sling and an Ergo baby carrier. The sling was a gift, and it was used 2-3 times before I felt my little guy was too big. However, I occassionally still use (and LOVE) the Ergo. DS is 19 mos old. So, I agree that slings are not worth the money, but I fully believe my Ergo was worth the money (bought used for 1/3 of the original cost off CL.)

    I do disagree about the baby walker. My son wanted to be mobile as early as he could. The exersaucers would frustrate him, but he loved the walker. We really only used it for a few months because he started walking so early, but I enjoyed having it while he was in it. Plus, it was never used as a baby sitter. Mostly he was just in it while I was in the kitchen cooking dinner or doing dishes–probably not more than 80-90 minutes total on any given day.

    The baby videos (Baby Einstein) are ok. They were also a gift. My son got them for Christmas at 13 mos. old. I think we have watched 3 or 4 of them. He will sit and watch one for about 10 minutes, but then he is up and running around again. Don’t mind having them, but definately would have never bought them using my money.

    In my opinion, another waste of money is fancy bottles or sippy cups. I used the plain old ordinary Gerber bottles, and I also used the Playtex Drop-Ins. I realize that the newer nicer bottles are supposed to help with air intake and they all have their niche market, but to me they are a waste of money. (Perhaps I just got lucky with a kiddo who did not have a lot of gas issues, but those two types did just fine for me.) I refused to try the other types because I don’t like doing dishes and the thought of having to dismantle a bottle seemed extreme to me. And the $0.99 Take and Toss sippy cups work beautifully. In fact, my son will use those better than he will use the $8-$10 cups that I have tried.

    I don’t have a “designer” stroller, but I do have a BOB Revolution, and a highly rated Chicco Umbrella Stroller. After using the BOB, the Chicco is definately sub-par, and although larger the BOB gets tons more use. Can’t imagine having a different stroller.

    I opted to buy only one car seat, so we went with a convertible car seat that was good for up to 60 lbs. This way, the next car seat I should have to buy is a simple booster seat. Because I went this route, I obviously did not have the normal baby carrier that most parents have. Since I could not just take the carrier into the grocery store or restaurant, my absolute favorite MUST HAVE was the Baby Bjorn Baby Sitter 1-2-3. This appears to be just a regular baby bouncer, but it ended up being a life saver. It folds almost completely flat, and is just a basic bouncer without all the toys, noise makers, etc. Plus, unlike most bouncers, it has a metal base rather than plastic, so the baby can use it up to about 40 lbs if wanted. This bouncer went everywhere with us. If we went out to eat, we took it, set it up in a chair next to us or a booth, and let our little guy just bounce away while we ate. When we flew, we carried it on with us, and when we had a 5 hour delay and the plane did not leave until 2am, it gave him a place to comfortably sleep without us having to hold him the ENTIRE time. Can’t even think of all the places that thing went with us. At first glance, the price tag of $100 seems ridiculous for a bouncer, but after getting so much use out of it, it was well worth the price. After he outgrew it, I let a friend borrow it. Just yesterday, I went to go pick it up because baby #2 will be here very soon, and although her boys are almost a year old, she was not happy to have to give it up. She says she still uses it every day.

    Thanks, though, for compiling your list. It is definately a great starting point for those moms who get overwhelmed with all the choices.

    • Thank you so much for your input and I enjoy the discussion. I hear you about sippy cups and bottles with many parts. Dad recently bought some straw cups that were obviously designed by a male engineer who doesn’t have children and would never have to use those. The bouncer is a great idea for the first few months and we use it at home for some naps. I do like the Baby Bjorn baby sitter idea. It’s a safe design and very compact. I hope all moms-to-be realize they don’t have to deplete their savings to purchase baby gear. I encourage the use of resale stores, Craiglist and hands-me-down (except for a few safety items like car seats). It’s a great feeling to pass something on to another mom, especially when it has been so useful to us.

      • I love straw cups…for me. I like having water handy for late night nursing, but the cats either knock cups over or drink out of them. Reuseable water bottles for adults all either need more than one hand to open or they are so expensive that I can’t imagine buying them. Straw cups on the other hand can be opened and closed with one finger, they’re cheap and they’re durable.

      • That’s a great idea! I actually use “sports” cups around the house for me since I manage to spill normal glasses on a regular basis. And my kids use them too because they’re just not careful enough to handle regular glasses most of the time…

  10. I agree with the crib pads. When the baby is a newborn they don’t need them because they can’t roll around. When they can roll the pads create a suffocation hazard so they are utterly useless.

    I disagree with the Bumbo though. My son is 2.5 yrs old an he still uses it daily. We have it sitting in a chair at the dinner table instead of a high chair. Still works great. When my son was younger we would have it sitting on the dinner table with it’s attachable tray and feed him while I was sitting at the dinner table. I’ve found the Bumbo to be indespensible.

  11. Well here’s a tip buy some things at places like thrift stores. Why in the world are we buying so many new baby clothes when there are perfectly good and barely used baby clothes at thrift stores and garage sales. Just be aware of your items condition to check if anything is wrong with safetiness.

    • Reduce, reuse, recycle! I have done that for many, many baby items. I bought at resale stores, from Craigslist or got hand-me-downs. This is great for most clothing, some toys and some gear. Just make sure it’s not on any recall list. After we were done with those items, we gave them another life by reselling or donating them. The 3Rs is the way to go, so thanks for promoting it!

  12. Your list is good but i somewhat disagree with the stroller. I bought a graco stroller and then once i had the baby discovered it was way to big and heavy to go in my car. then bought a maclaren techno xlr (yes, i said maclaren- and i have hinge covers) that i could not love more becuase #1- i am tall and needed a good stroller that bars could go up but that i also would not kcik when walking, #2- folded easily and fit well in the car, #3- was light enough for me and easy to pack/unpack, #4- multiple recline positions, #5- (one of the most important to me) the sun hood is INCREDIBLE.. it goes up and down, normal, UV block extended part, and unzips for even more sun coverage… not all cheap stroller have all features for everyone.. flash was not in my choice in buying my stroller at all.. the only feature i had to pass up on that i would have liked is a choice to face me

    • I am in total agreement with the Maclaren stroller. I cannot tell you the amount of money I wasted on low quality strollers when I should have gone with the Maclaren in the beginning. I am tall, also, and have two children 11 months apart, so I need a double stroller, which I use very frequently. The Maclaren Twin Techno is easy to use, light, very easy to manuever, and takes up little room in my car. I didn’t go with the Maclaren for the “name,” but after using two cheap double strollers that were bulky, heavy, and not easy to use. Maclaren has remedied the issues with the amputations by adding hinge covers and I’m of a mind that the problem could occur with other strollers.

  13. Your list is great! But I’m afraid you’ll discourage moms against slings unfairly. Not all slings are unsafe & there are many different holds that are safe to use with infants & young toddlers. There are so many that I doubt there isn’t at least one that every baby will like unless your baby doesn’t like to be held. With a little practice on how to use them and put the baby in, slings/wraps are invaluable!

    It would be so hard to get things done without my ring sling & Moby Wrap. I use one or the other almost daily! In the first few months, all I had to do to soothe my fussy baby was put her in it, walk a little and she’d go right to sleep! Parents just need to be educated about how to use them properly. There are countless benefits to “wearing” your baby. This practice is even recommended by Dr. Sears. (

    Those first few months, the Moby Wrap is a great choice to soothe the baby when they’re fussy and to keep the baby close when shopping or even taking a walk in the park. It’s also extremely safe and secure. There’s nothing more annoying than trying to push a stroller while carrying your baby who won’t sit in it without bawling. Also, slings are a great way to nurse your baby discreetly in public. I could go on and on because I love sharing the benefits of baby wearing. :)

    But I don’t want to take up too much more space. is the best resource for new moms. OH, and youtube is a great way to learn how to put your sling or whatever carrier you choose on AND how to safely put your baby in.

    • Thanks, Brandi, for the recommendation. I agree that some slings are safe, especially if used properly. I recommend moms to think about safety first and get educated on what works best for them and their babies as a carrier.

      • I agree with Brandi on these recommendations. I’ve also become a recent convert to the Beco Butterfly carrier over our Ergo, though. They come with the infant insert as a standard feature (instead of an add-on with the Ergo system). They also come in a variety of colors and patterns — much prettier than the Ergo, and they have some nice safety features which the Ergo doesn’t have.

      • I tend to think ANYTHING not properly used can be a danger, so unless we plan on sitting in bubbles, no real threat here. Those women that have had suffocation issues were isolated incidences. It labels the rest of us as irresponsible to use them as examples. What about the thousands of women using them today? Or the thousands of women from other countries that use them on a daily basis?

        This is (no offense) the same type of frustration we have to face with the makers of store brand baby slings and companies like Pampers. Companies that want more for their own buck than what they’re offering for ours.

      • I agree with you that all baby gear needs to be used properly. From the discussions going around though, it seems that some slings / baby carriers are a lot easier to use properly than others. It’s up to us, educated shoppers, to choose what we’ll use with safety and comfort in mind.

  14. Thanks for sharing your list! I wish I had seen something like this when I was pregnant with my first (I had baby #3 2 months ago). After 3 kids I have gone through many strollers, baby carriers, etc & know I have wasted a lot of money on useless products or products that didn’t work for me.

    One product that I can not live without & would like recommend for a baby carrier is the Beco Butterfly II (or a similar type soft structured carrier). It comes with a removable infant insert so it can be used for newborns too. I find it quick & easy to get on & off (as opposed to one you have to tie with long fabric that drags on the ground). It evenly distributes weight & also supports the baby under their bottom which I’ve read is better for them than being suspended from their crotch. After going through 4 other carriers, I got my BB II for baby 2 & used it alot. Now that baby 3 is here I use it almost daily. I have a Cuddly Wrap (like a Moby Wrap) that I still use sometimes too, but I find it more cumbersome to put on than the Beco.

    The main thing I have learnt over the years is to determine your needs, try things out & do research before investing the money.

    • Thanks, Tracy. Like you, I believe that moms-to-be need to purchase the essentials (diapers, wipes, car seat, etc) and hold off on some of the other items until they figure out if they need such. Trying things out, especially when you have your baby as a tester, is a great way to see if the item will work for you or not.

  15. I don’t agree with a few of them.
    I love the wipey warmer and the Bumbo we use alot. We took it on vacation to feed him with and I put it at the bottom of the shower when I was showering with him. (he loves the shower)
    The travel syster is a monstrosity, but I love the stroller for walks around the neighborhood and have a small stroller for the car although the small one does not protect from the sun like the travel system one does.
    Most of the stuff is all up to the baby, I think the playyard comes in handy at Connor’s age (7months) for the beach and the yard.
    I made so many returns after my shower so I really had a chance to think about what I really wanted and needed. Plus I had a lot of help from my sisters.
    Def ask for advice or check product reviews.
    Connor loves his exersaucer–free and hates his walker–not free.
    Connor loved his bassinett– free, but a lot of babies do not like them.
    Anyone need any advice on breastfeeding products… I got it!

  16. I agree with your list, except bumbos. Bumbo seats are great for some kids, like kids with core muscle tone issues. My son was very delayed and this was the only way he could sit. It forced him to use and develop these muscles. However, once he got that muscle control, he was quick to be able to get out of it. I used it until around 14 months, when he was able to sit unassisted.

  17. Just a heads up for parents out there. Massive recall today on drop-side cribs:

  18. Pingback: Perfecting Motherhood

  19. Great list! I would add:

    Changing table: It’s nice if you have a bad back, as my husband does, but if money is tight there’s no reason not to change your baby on a bed or on the floor. Or you can simply put a changing pad on top of any low dresser.

    Convertible crib: These are generally more expensive, and I’m not sure they’re entirely necessary. If you’re planning to have several kids, then your crib will probably stay a crib and be reused for each child. Plus, the vast majority of convertible cribs change into DOUBLE beds, and most parents I know have their kids sleep in TWIN beds, so unless you’re planning to buy a double bed for your child, the extra $100 or so is a wasted expense. We did end up buying a convertible crib because we liked the style better, but we didn’t bother purchasing the conversion kits.

    Diaper Genie (I’ll second this one): We just use a regular garbage can and take out the trash when it gets stinky. The really stinky poopy diapers get tied up in a Safeway bag to help contain the smell. As a bonus, we don’t have to buy the expensive bag inserts.

    I found that with large items that will be used for only a few months (like Jumperoos, Exersaucers, Bumbo seats, bouncers, baby swings, activity mats, and the like), it’s best to get them for cheap or free off of Craigslist and Freecycle and then sell or give them away when your baby is done using them. It’s more eco-friendly to re-use. Plus, you won’t have wasted a ton of money if your child doesn’t like something. (My son hated his swing.) And, since you got it for cheap or free, you won’t feel like you have to keep it to use for the next baby, thereby freeing up valuable storage space in your home. Just sell it and buy another used one when baby #2 comes along.

    I do believe in spending money on a good stroller. You know how frustrating it is to try to steer a shopping cart with bad wheels? I didn’t want that happening with my stroller! We bought the Bumbleride Indie, as we were looking for something for jogging and multi-terrain use (but still reasonably lightweight). The Baby Jogger City Mini is another great option — the wheels are smaller, but it’s much less expensive and more lightweight.

  20. I held off on the Diaper Genie until the poopy diapers got truly offensively stinky. I’m very happy with it and it contains the smell. I have a drop-side crib, by chance, but I never used it before the recall, though it probably would have been kinder on my back (I’m short). Even when my son is sitting, it’s still a stretch. My recommendation for the list is shoes, as Baby won’t be needing them for a long time yet.

    • You’re right, a baby doesn’t need baby shoes if he/she doesn’t walk. I recommend leather slippers (Target has slippers for half the price of Robeez by the way) for when your baby learns to walk, since the sole is soft and the child can feel the ground well.

  21. Steven Krueger

    Good to know baby info for our upcoming little ones!

  22. I have to say I also disagree with the slings also. My son loved ours and I was able to carry him everywhere and still feel able to take care of my other 2 kids. The thing that I feel is useless and I know alot of moms will probably disagree, is the infant carseat. With my son I opted to get one that goes from 5-100 lbs. I did this to not only save money but prevent me from killing my back. I feel like with my sling and a stroller there was always a way to tote my baby without having to lug around an extra 5 pounds of plastic.

  23. I have to slightly disagree with the playard when it comes to pets, especially dogs. I’m all for both baby and pet to learn what is acceptable, but I don’t think it is ever acceptable to leave a dog alone with a baby. I don’t care what kind of dog it is, babies and dogs don’t mix without a heck of a lot of supervision.

    So for me, either my baby will be safely contained (my dog doesn’t get destructive with mesh fabric, her travel crate is a material thing that she’s never tried to get out of), or my dog will be crated when I can’t be there to supervise. I want them to be friends, but I understand the dangers that can come from any friendly pup.

  24. Basketball belly

    I think what you need or don’t need for baby all depends on your situation as well as baby’s. I myself do like to have nice things for my children (not the most expensive). I’m pregnant with baby number three so anything that can make life easier is necessary. Used the same crib for my first two kids. Because of recalls, purchased a new one for baby number three. Everyone needs a bed so i feel a crib is necessary. Never had a play yard for baby 1 or 2. Didn’t feel one was needed. Plus a lot of people says they end up using it as storage. Baby 2 didn’t need a swing, he was easy. Always purchased a travel system. You’ll need a carseat as well as a stroller for later so might as well get the matching travel system( cheaper together). With two kids already and number three on the (oh, and a dog) i’ve bought everything that can make things easier:
    crib-usually take one side off and have it right next to my bed. Easier nights with easy baby axcess.
    Pack n play-thought i might need one to keep the dog from sniffing and licking baby. And of course for a space for baby during outtings or travel.
    Swing-basically a helping a hand
    changing table-never had one for my first two. Found a good crib and changing table(dresser combo) deal. If you get a changing table, go with a dresser type for use later in the years. Like i said, it all depends on yours and baby’s situation. If something doesn’t work out, there’ll always be a pregnant woman in need of stuff that doesn’t mind hand-me-downs. Or just needs help with baby items.

  25. Janie Appleseed

    Couldn’t resist adding my comment that a bathtub isn’t necessary. I’m a mother of 3, grandmother of 7. Never needed a plastic baby bathtub to fill and empty. Bathed them all in the mudroom sink, changed diapers and dressed them on the adjoining countertop until they were too big to fit in the sink! As for stinky diapers, I keep a wastebasket in the garage–open the door and toss the diaper! Baby #7 stays with me 3 days a week. At 9 months, she’s a joy! She has/had a cradle swing, a walker, exersaucer, jump-up, sleeps in a pack-n-play. But mostly lots of free exploring on her own with Grandpa or me close! Forty-five years ago, I was raising 2 little baby boys with no ac, no wall-to-wall, no washer/dryer, no carseat, no Pampers. Twenty-six years ago I was raising son #3 with ac, carpet, washer/dryer, carseat, Pampers. What a difference! I love how my 7 grandkids are being raised and I love reading all the comments from you young mothers who are so rightly concerned with safety and age-appropriate child-rearing! Hug those babies…they grow up too quickly!

  26. Thanks for the list for new moms!

    If you are concerned that the wipes are too cold, use a warm washcloth.

    As for the sling, I used it with my kids as newborns, I could actually grocery shop and discreetly nurse if needed. When they got in the “cry all night” period, I put them in the sling and they calmed down. I used it when they were 3 years old when they needed to be carried and I had my hands free. It is a very versatile piece of equipment and can be used for several years.

    Since there are safety concerns now, if you choose to use a sling, you need to be aware of how you position your baby.

    Keep up the good work!

  27. I love my diaper genie, we have no trash pick-up, and it clears the room of the doopoo smells, I got mine, proudly, FREE from my sister in law who never used and hated it. I am still using it at 8 and a half months, the bumbo seat and tray were a wanted but she hates them unreturnable gift, as were the baby tubs, she bathes with me. I never opened the new $$$$ babybed with mattress yest, no room, we are co-sleepers since 1992, and she does LOVE her FP Jumperoo, 15 minutes in the morning a few more at night. the swing, she like to sleep in for naps, the bouncer calming vibrations, useless..boring to her, she loves the show wonder pets. once a day. I dvr it. my sling is still great, she was a preemie and I could and still can nurse her in it. took the wipe warmer back, no where to put it safely. I need a carseat, I beg from other mommies to return when I am done, and have things cleaned. no fancy clothes unless a pic, then take it back. Unethical? not if the tags are on and the pics cost $$. I need tips for smaller girl 15-ish pounds at 8 and a half months, what else will i need.

    • I’m sure you’ll realize that as babies grow, they need less and less gear and seem more content with toys! A safe car seat is a must, something that can last until your child is 4 or 5 years old, when you’ll switch to a booster seat. We have two Britax Roundabout seats and we really like them (they’re even made in the USA!). Some place for your child to eat at the table is important too. We used the Fisher Price space saver high chair because we wanted our kids to sit with us, not next to us in a spacing-sucking high chair. A booster seat is another option when your baby can sit up well by herself for a while. I’d love to hear what other moms can tell Donna she’ll need over the next year.

    • For what it’s worth, the fact that you’re paying money for professional pictures does not make it ethical to return the clothing your child is going to wear in the professional pictures. The clothing store does not receive money from the portrait studio. (And even if you are getting both clothes and pictures from JC Penney, for example, would you as a customer want to pay full price for clothes that are actually used? Because another customer is going to buy those now-used clothes that you returned.)

      A better option would be to buy fancy clothes from a clearance rack, from a used clothing store, or from a discount store like Ross or TJ Maxx. You can get very cute outfits for $5-10.

      • For fancy clothes for pix, definitely hit a garage sale or thrift store or even ebay. The kid that wore it before yours probably wore it once for pictures, too.
        I have gotten some screaming deals on kids’ shoes on ebay, too. I won’t buy shoes that have been used much, but shopping for summer sandals turned up quite a few pairs of nice Stride-Rites in “my kid wore these to church 3 times and then outgrew them” condition. With price tags under $15, including shipping.

        Frankly, all my kids’ clothes come from rummage sales or thrift stores, unless I make them or someone else gives them new clothes. Used little kids’ clothes are plentiful and generally not worn much. Someone freecycled me an entire black trash bag of perfectly good stuff for my 3 year-old last spring–and she’s pretty much set till next year! You just want to be picky in what you do buy. Do that, and no one will ever know you weren’t the one dropping $10 for a size 2T T-shirt in Children’s Place.

  28. I disagree with the sling on this list as well. A harness type carrier is actually not a good choice for very young babies due to the lack of support through the lower spine and the feet hanging down. The whole baby should be supported until it can support itself. Certain slings and carriers are very safe for babies as long as you follow the guidelines for age and appropriateness and avoid the bag type sling with the elastic especially with newborns. Cloth wraps (like the Moby) can be used to hold babies in many positions allowing the carrier to grow and change with the needs of parents and baby. The newest issue of Mothering Magazine has a very detailed article on baby wearing and more info is available on the website. The benefits of baby wearing are great and provide great things that pushing and carrying a baby in a plastic bucket or employing a device to contain your baby will never have.

  29. To the person that returns clothing after her daughter wears them….YOU ARE tacky and selfish..
    When I go to the store to purchase a NEW outfit for my child, that is exactly what I want to buy. My child might be allergic to the baby powder that you used on your infant or your child’s lotion. If you have pets, another child could be alergic to your pet’s dander.
    I am embarrassed for your child to have a mom with justifies this sleazy behavior.

    • It’s actually ill-advised to place brand new clothing on small children before washing. If the child is allergic to whatever the manufacturer set the dyes into place on the fabric, it could be very much more costly than the price of the item.

  30. I agree with Ann on the sling issue, I have read many babywearing articles about how the carriers are bad for the spine. Now on the subject of diapers, I skipped the whole disposable diaper junk. I use modern cloth diapers, because I can spent $300 and get enough diapers to use from birth to potty training, or I can spend THOUSANDS on something that goes in the garbage. It takes 200-500 years for a disposable diaper to break down, not to mention the chemicals that are in them. My oldest daughter is allergic to disposable diapers. We found that out when we were at the hospital with her. I would rather have nice soft cloth against both of my daughters’ skin anyway. instead of the horrid paper/plastic rash sacks that disposables are.

  31. Re: the sling: I don’t agree or disagree. I think its just not for everyone. I got one as a gift, tried it, me and my baby hated it, and we moved on. I am quite sure he doesn’t love me any less for it :)

    Re: the stroller: $100-$300? I spent $130 on a Maclaren Triumph and it was the best thing we ever bought. My baby started using it at 3 mos when he could hold his head steady, and we use it every day now. It’s light and convenient. I don’t get the Bugaboo thing at all. Those strollers are huge and heavy and SO much money. Those seem like a real waste — unless you need a status symbol, then you’re probably rich enough that it doesn’t matter.

    This is a good list you made, thank you. I wish I saw it 10 months ago!

    And remember people: CRAIGSLIST. Babies go through stuff os fast that it’s often sold like new on CL. And that’s where you can sell all that baby junk you’ve never used too.

    • Thanks for stopping by and sharing your personal experience. Moms-to-be already have enough to worry about not to panic about how much gear they need to get and how to get “the best” for their baby. Your baby won’t remember if you bought the most state-of-the-art stroller but he/she will sure enjoy all of the love and cuddles you provide!

  32. I’m pregnant with my first and really enjoyed reading all these comments. I don’t want to buy stuff I’m not going to use and really appreciate everyone’s perspective.

    Not sure if anyone will chime in, but we are considering not buying a standard stroller. I know you can’t use the umbrella kind until they’re 4 months old or so, but the standard ones just seem so bulky and take up too much space in a tiny apartment. Is it practical to expect that my husband and I will be fine in those early months just carting baby around in sling/carrier?

    • I know a number of people who didn’t put their baby in a stroller for the first few months of their life. I actually did so with my second, as I didn’t want to get a double stroller too early on. As long as you find a sling/carrier that is safe and that you and your baby like, it should work. My recommendation would be to look around for what’s available but not buy anything until your baby is here and try it out then, to see how it works out for both of you.

    • I find a sling to be handier than a stroller until the baby is about 6 months old. And then I still stick a sling in the basket under the stroller, because as surely as the sun rises in the East, the baby will want to be held, and probably, to nurse. Even with my 2nd child (my kids are 17 months apart), I didn’t buy a double stroller till March, and my little guy was already 5 months old. I just put him in the sling and his sister in the single stroller (a Jeep jogger). We went everywhere that way–the beach, flea markets, walks, you name it.
      Get an idea what stroller you want and start keeping an eye out for a fantastic deal. By the time you need it, you’ll have found it at the sort of prices you can find when you don’t have pressure on your shopping. The single stroller I bought before my first baby was born, and it’s a great stroller, especially for being very reasonably priced. The double is where taking my time to shop really paid off. I knew I wanted a jogger, because I like the all-terrain features of one, and I knew I wanted the kids next to each other. The model I had been keeping an eye on was going for around $200, even on craigslist. Then, I went into Costco one day. The Dreamer Design stroller company had gone out of business, Costco had bought out their remaining stock, and I ended up getting a $500 stroller for $140! And we use the heck out of that stroller, and it has held up very well for the past year and a half–oughta last me till we’re done having kids.

  33. I agree with most of your post, I would also like to recommend the ergo, it’s pricey, but last so much longer than the others (nice if this is your second and needs to be transported around or held during siblings soccer game, hockey practice, etc.

    Also, wipe warmer. I’ll admit I had a slightly different purpose, but my son had extremely sensitive skin (was allergic to diapers, had to have a doctors note to force daycare to use cloth), the wipes, even the sensitive free- ones. I used washclothes, thin small ones, put them in the wipe warmer with water. I loved it and less waste. For this coming baby I’m going to use it again regardless of skin issue, no chemicals, always better to me.

    Thank you for your post!

    • We had to do the same thing for the first 6 months. Our wipe warmer became a lifesaver when we could no longer use disposable wipes. Made it so much easier then having to stand in the bathroom and wait for the water to warm up at every diaper change.

  34. I couldn’t agree more, wipes warmer?!?! What is wrong with palming a wipe before getting started with the changing process . . . by the time you use it, your hand will have warmed it up to a comfortable, safe temperature AND won’t waste $$$ on drying out your wipes!

    However, I do like the Chicco DJ walker we got for our child as we do not have stairs to worry about and all hardwood floors throughout the house. My daughter loved following me around the house and I loved that she could. Crawling on hardwood floors is so rough for the little ones, though we did have “crawl” time on area rugs. Otherwise, I would agree that the walkers are not practical for people that live in a home with carpeted areas and stairs.

    I hate the boppy as well. I can’t imagine it works for anyone over a size 6. I’m not fat by any means but as a nearly 6 foot tall woman, size 8 is small and this boppy made me feel fat even when I was skinnier than BEFORE I got pregnant and offered no support for my back. (Tall women have to lean over more for their babies!!!) I suggest “My Brest Friend”

    Short of medical reasons I see no reason why some women don’t breastfeed. What a WASTE of money on formula! I feel it is selfish. Our bodies were designed to nourish our babies. What a shock to your body & good luck losing weight if you don’t breastfeed. I lost every OUNCE of baby weight within 3 weeks by breastfeeding my little one. I feel sad for the infants that are deprived of their own mother’s milk because they want to have more freedom or fill-in-the-blank with whatever reasoning I will never understand short of what I mentioned earlier.

  35. I agree with most of your list. Our Bumbo seat was the biggest waste of $40 ever!!! The swing was also a waste of money. Our good stroller was worth every penny, but I use baby carriers for the little one and the stroller for the older one, and have had absolutely no use for a double stroller. There has already been a good discussion about slings, but I just want to repeat the fact that there is a huge difference between slings like the Infantino Sling Rider/Lamaze Close Comfort sling (aka “low rider slings”) and adjustable ring slings, which are very safe, easy to use, and comfy for both mom & baby. For moms that are looking for a good sling, be sure to shop for a RING sling that is either not padded at all, or only lightly padded.
    One item I would add to your list is a hooded towel. They are small and thin and not very practical. I prefer a nice big thick, very soft, bath towel. Nice and absorbent and big enough to actually wrap all the way around the baby, makes much more sense than those little lightweight hooded baby towels. While I’m on that subject, I also never buy baby lotion. Plain old extra virgin olive oil is natural, does a better job than baby lotion, and I don’t have to worry about harsh chemicals or scents.

  36. I agree wholeheartedly with everything except the walker. I am working on my third and so far both of my other children have LOVED the mobility their walkers gave them. How is it unsafe (assuming there are no stairs leading down)? Both started walking around 9 months and didn’t care for their excersaucer until after that.

  37. ugh we have a Bugaboo Cameleon that we got for $800….i dont know what we were thinking. anyone wanna buy it? lol

  38. One thing I see people do all the time is decorate their babies room before the baby arrives and like you said buy all kinds of stuff. Besides the car-seat, a few hand me down clothes, we had nothing before my daughter was born. And since we don’t live in the jungles, my husband could pick up diapers/wipes etc even after our daughter was born. There was no fancy baby-ready room..we kept her in our room in the beginning anyways. Honestly I don’t think either of my kids cared as to what color/designs their walls or clothes were (tiny babies wouldn’t be able to see everything anyways). I didn’t decorate my daughter (now son’s also) room till she was almost 3. I just painted the walls, used our old dresser and changed out the knobs (my mom gave me knobs that we had in our room when we were kids). Put in 2 $5 bright colored shelves (from ikea), a $11 stuff toy hammock, a $10 wall children’s lamp from ikea, put in $12 curtains, and some low kiddie like hooks ($7) for hanging bags/clothes etc and ta-da the room was done and great if I may say so myself (may not sound like it..but I promise you it doesn’t look half as cheap as it sounds). Best of all it was all done under $100. (Not counting the $50 toddler bed we already had with bedding I got from my sister’s sister-in-law, who’s daughter is 12 now :)..So what I want to say to folks don’t worry…there will be time to pick up stuff you need every AFTER the baby is born. Really you don’t need much at all.

  39. Actually found having a sling absolutely indispensable. Keeping a baby in contact with you is really good for them, good for bonding, and makes life much easier when you have a baby that wants to be held all the time (most babies want to be held at least a good portion of the day). The bag slings are dangerous, but wraps, pouches, ring slings mei tais, soft structure and other baby carrier varieties are perfectly safe when used correctly.

    Brand name diapers may not be a bad idea, either. The cheaper brands tend to have more unfriendly chemicals in them. Of course, the cheapest and safest way to go is cloth. These don’t need to be brand name, either.

    I’m kind of thinking the same thing about formula. Even with the same ingredients, the ingredients in say, organic formula, will be higher quality than the cheap formula. Just because they have the same ingredients it doesn’t mean they are the same quality. Parents should do a little research and find the best formula for their baby…after all, they are going to be feeding it to their child every day for a year, right?

  40. I have to disagree with the bumbo and the play yard. My son is a year old and uses both. I wouldn’t be able to clean my kitchen without the play yard. My son has a jumparoo which is like the saucer only a little more jumpy and cant stand it. Having my son in the play yard is the only way I can get ANYTHING done or he is into everything. Plus it is great to have on hand when you need a safe place you can put them while you move laundry or answer the door. Really nice to have that ability. As for the bumbo, it was amazing for a few months and it is true that it is really only used the most for a few months but well worth the money for those months. While it doesn’t get used like it used to, we do still use it at snack time. My 3 year old Niece still sits in it. My son can easily climb in and out of his bumbo on his own and it is ALWAYS on the floor.

  41. As an experienced mom, I also have an unwritten list of the things I wish I didn’t waste money on. The wipe warmer was something I used with my first child and then never bothered to get it out for my second. I bought a sling but couldn’t figure out how to work it (even after watching the instructional video). I did use my Baby Bjorn carrier all the time, though. I invented a baby product that I think makes life much easier, though. It took over 2 years to bring this product to market. I have only been in business since June, 2010. I would love to hear your honest opinion about it.

    • Hi Annie, thanks for sharing your experience about the wipe warmer and the sling. I do like your idea of a bib rack sitting right on the kitchen counter. We went through countless bibs with my first son, who had major acid reflux, so we could have used a product like yours. I like the idea of drying racks on the counter for bibs, bottles, sippy cups, etc, because most of those things take a while to dry.

  42. I could not agree more with most of your items. I don’t see why you need a wipe warmer when my son was a newborn (during the worst ice storms my part of the country had seen since I was born) I would just sleep with the little “sample” packs of wipes in bed right between my husband and myself and that kept them warm without spending the extra on the electricity (which we really could not afford being poor college kids) and they were always handy for middle of the night changes, for during the day I would keep one of the packs in my back pocket since I was sitting fawning over him anyway.

    My second child had major eating problems and allergy problems so we did everything to keep her bottles as clean as possible, but we still skipped the fancy bottle sterilizer and opted for the microwavable bags (the safest we could find, BPA free and all that jazz) which worked out great when we traveled. I did breast feed her but she was a lazy sucker and on the verge of failure to thrive so I pumped like a maniac, which is another good use for the steralizing bags, and they are so much cheaper and easier to maintain (if it looks suspicous, throw it away and grab another one out of the box) than those expensive suckers of electricity and personal energy.

    I had a crib with a drop down side for my son (it was a gift and was actually the cheapest at the time because it was on a great sale), then it was recalled and they mailed us the little part to make it not drop down for my first daughter, then just before my second daughter was ready to move to the crib they were recalled all together so we traded it in for a much cuter stable side one (although we did spring a few extra bucks for the one that turns into a cute head and foot board for a full size bed) that I love and my older kids love because it has baby closer to the ground so they can look at eachother eye to eye when they are playing while everyone is going through their morning routine.

    I bought the super cute crib bedding sets with matching bumpers, put them all together and dressed up nice before the baby was born, took pictures of it all, then took them out, put them back in the carry bag they came with, and plan on them being passed down to my kids when they start to have kids as a look pretty, then I expect them to do the same as I did.

    As for the play yard, we did a lot of traveling back and forth while the first two kids were small enough that they could not crawl out of it and they got their milage. If you get one and don’t feel you use it enough, put it up and when a holiday comes around, like Christmas, put the tree and the gifts in the play yard. If your kid is at all mobil they will either have no interest in the thing because they see it as a jail or they will sit and try to grab at things but be unable to knock the tree over because it is being held up and contained by the play yard. (My mom did this when we were very little and I did it myself and plan on doing it for one last year with a 14 month old running around.) Tip: If you can get a second hand or free fake christmas tree, even if it is missing limbs, only set up half of the tree so that it looks full in the play yard and put the “naked” side against the wall. Saves money on a tree, ornaments you will feel you need to buy, and space it you live in a smaller place. We have a “Franken”-tree that comes out beautiful in pictures every year and was 100% free that has lasted us the last five years of marraige and kids.

    I don’t go for fancy brand diapers, but I don’t do store brand either. After being scarred by feeling like the worst mother in the world because my son, my first precious baby, broke out in a full on open blister, skin pealing rash all over his thighs, stomach, and everywhere in between that diapers touch from a store brand diaper in just 15 mins. (after the gift diapers and what the hospital gave us ran out when he was a few months old) I did some serious research and talking with my friends who had kids. I am a LUVS Momma all the way. You may have to up sizes quicker than other name brand diapers because they are shorter but they have so far held in everything my three kids could throw at them. From boughts of slimy poo to peeing every 10 minutes, we have had minimal leaks and saved the time pretreating and money buying clothes that you end up spending when you use store brand that doesn’t do the job as well. (Training pants are a different story and I only use them because of my “I do it!” child who started that at 1 year old and then went through a growth spurt making potty training get pushed back a bit.)

    Brand name formula, I have told so many mother’s that if you are making the choice between the brand name and the stupid duck or bear on the lable of your childs formula or paying the electricity, gas, or rent that month, grab the cheaper formula, and if you don’t believe me then talk to your pedi about it and I am sure they will agree. I do use name brand formula but that is for tummy issues from my second child that made my life heck if I didn’t and the beginning of a repeat in baby #3 when I made the switch (post-partum from baby 2 and her issues was the reason for that, I won’t even try to sum it all up.)

    I never went for the “peanut” sling even though I was having babies right in the middle of the big craze with the stars and all that, partly because I have a bad back and adding a baby’s weight on top of that was not my idea of fun, and partly because they just never looked all that safe for my very small over term babies (6lbs 9ozs, 6lbs, 8ozs, and 5lbs 15.5ozs) who were all at least a week late but tiny and would have been swallowed alive in those things. That and my extra large breasts (which are the reason for my bad back if you were wondering, and yes they are all real and at their largest during breast feeding were 38L cup, can you say cheap nursing bra is $50!) made it impossible for me to get them into position in one of those for them to eat. I opted for a five-in-one sling that is basically a Moby wrap and at one point had my 18 month old on my back and 1 month old on my front while holding hands with my 4 year old walking through the zoo because I HAD to get out of the house. I can still use it for my now 5 year old and 35lb son if I really needed to, although I don’t think I will.

    I do have and have used walkers will all 3 children, saying that I have never lived in a multi-story house or put them in them to “teach them to walk” or “keep them contained” (I have massive gates that block off my open design kitchen from the living room and a smaller gate to keep them from going down the hall when I want to keep an eye on them while cooking.) I use my walker as a high chair of sorts when I have breakfast and lunch around the coffee table so that the older kids can sit in their own chairs and feel like I am more willing to get on their level. Don’t worry, the T.V. is off when we eat and I just use the time to practice good posture and tone my back and core muscles. Once my kids reach crawling they can crawl out of any of the items mentioned anyway so I never saw the point in putting money into even an excersauser since I got the walker free.

    And my Bumbo, so nice for me because my kids are on the smaller side. My 2 1/2 year old can still fit into it just fine with the tray in place without it pinching her legs. She has to keep her legs out straight but if it keeps her entertained for a few minutes that she is not torturing her big brother or little sister I am fine with it. We origionally got it for my older daughter to use at her sitters with the tray for meal time (her sitter was a stay at home mom with a daughter just a few months younger than my daughter who just wanted to stay home for the first year and I had a job opportunity I couldn’t pass up right after I graduated college and my husband was still going.) I didn’t pay $40 for it though, even though my husband would have in a second, because I shopped around and spent half that on a new one at an awesome sale. I spent only $10 on the tray at a sale too, so after $30 it has lasted through 2 kids and is now retiring to a doll toy.

    I say forget the designer stroller, and I don’t mean the jogging stroller if you are an avid athlete, but the ones will all the bells and whistles that you are basically paying for the name is not worth it. Most of the “great options” I have read other moms talk about I got in a $76 (again on sale) Evenflo system. They don’t make it anymore and I guess haven’t since soon before I had my first daughter, but it was perfect for going to ball games and even taking walks on the dirt roads (more sand than dirt really) in my home town when visiting family. It came with the complete fold down seat, the bassinet leg thing so newborns would not be able to wiggle down and out the leg holes if you went downhill, a mosquito net that snapped in around even a toddler built into the shade and went all around the side with no chance for one to get trapped in because the elastic was loose (thank goodness for snaps) and a huge under basket that carried a cooler through an amusment park that held drinks and food for a whole day so we didn’t have to waste money on the food there (again, poor college kids), as well as tires that could go through anything without being torn up or getting clogged up by dirt or even mud. I loved, loved, loved that stroller. If only I could go back in time and keep my husband from just flinging it on the back porch for the neighborhood cats to have their way with it. But now I have an Evenflo double stroller that my sister-in-law picked up for me at a garage sale for $10 because the front tray is missing (my kids don’t miss it, it would just get in the way of my 2 year old getting in and out of her seat) and the same $15 umbrella stroller I bought with gift money from when my son was born, yes back in 2005 you could spend $15 and get a brand spankin’ new umbrella stroller of decent if not great quality, but it still does it’s job.

    And Baby Videos, blah! I say if you really feel your baby needs something to distract them that is educational on their level then put on Animal Planet or PBS when you need them to be still for a few minutes so you can actually fold that load of laundry without them “helping” you arrange it all over the living room. Hearing and seeing real people speak really sentences does just as good if not better than flashcards and what my husband and his friends like to call “ADD skits” that last a few seconds and don’t always seem to have anything to do with the words they are “teaching”.

    I know I am long winded, and that is probably because for the first time in a month both of my daughters are napping at the same time while my son is at school so nothing has stopped me and made me wrap it up yet, but I do have to say a few things about items I absolutely loved for all my babies.

    Recieving blankets, while not the most convenient for swaddling, have many uses. Roll one up and lay your gassy baby face down (*gasp*, don’t worry, you are supposed to stay there the whole time watching them for this so you know if something obstructs their airway) with the blanket across their belly while rubbing their back. They may scream like none other at first but once they fart and burp it all out they will fall asleep and find this as comforting as laying across your chest. It also helps them try to push up and develop upper body strength and neck control. Another good use, I still do this with my five year old sometimes, if you find yourself needing to bathe your child but you are out of clean washcloths grab one of these. They are soft and won’t rub the baby wrong but do absorb water and wash just as well as a washcloth. Sure my kindergartener fights me sometimes on this but when he was the choice of washing himself with it or me doing it he quiets down pretty quick. Also, with a teething baby, you have probably heard of having your baby gum or chew on a cool wet washcloth to help ease their pain, only problem is they eventually chew through the washcloth and can end up choking on the chunks. With a nice flanel recieving blanket wet on just a corner there is not only less of a chance they will chew through and choke but there is plenty of extra cloth to soak up the drool. I also use them to swaddle my daughters baby dolls, they have to be the right size to swaddle something, right? And you really can’t swaddle a baby doll or stuffed animal (as my son has me do his from time to time) too tight!

    I love my origional Diaper Genie, it sits between my big comfy chair and the front door. It keeps the odors in pretty well and keeps my dogs from eating the diapers and my kids from scattering them all over the house like they have in the past when I ran out of liners and put the diapers in the regular trash can. It is also in a convenient location that if it smells really bad I can stick it outside easily and/or stop my husband in his tracks as he comes in the house after a day of school and work to dump it immediately rather than say something to him then him put it off, leaving me to figure out how to juggle two little girls and a nasty diaper genie half a block down to the dumpster (I live kinda in the country and we don’t have individual poly cart pick up.)

    That being said, there are plenty of people out there who I am sure could live without “Fur Elise” to get their baby to go to sleep while there was no way that was possible with my son and my husband was known to break out his clarinet to play it for him when we ran out of batteries for the mobile that played it. Everyone has different “necessities” for different reasons where the “need” may not be seen as a need for one but as a want but for mental health reasons is an absolute need for another.

  43. Oh, the topic of wipe warmers. I agree with you completely! But, another negative about wipe warmers is that if you leave it on all the time, it dries out. But, if you turn it out when you’re about to change a diaper, then it’s not heated up yet! You have to wait 10-15 minutes before it’s heated. And, by that time it’s pointless!

    • I bought one for $5 at a sale, and surprisingly, it’s been great. It does dry out, but I found that if you add a tiny bit of water (once every 4 or 5 days), it’s enough to keep it moist.

  44. Okay, I know I might not be as experienced of a mom as everyone here is, but i’ll give you a couple of notes on what i’ve noticed with my baby so far:
    – formula, everything besides Good Start has only been concrete in a can for my son.
    – Diapers, i’ve tried every kind, and the only type that seems gentle on his bum and does the job right is Pampers. Everything else leaks, and rips like crazy.
    – As for the walker, ( i live in Canada and it’s actually illegal to buy or sell one here) but I grew up on a walker, so did my husband and everyone else i know, and i believe it’s good for kids because they’re curious by nature, they want to go everywhere and do everything so you can walk with them around the house, and they’re only dangerous if you don’t have your eyes on your baby ( & btw, if you’re not watching your baby like a hawk, walker or no walker, he or she is going to get hurt).
    – Lastly, a crib with a drop side, i agree that it’s a safety hazard, but i’m merely 150cm (around 5ft), and i constantly find myself on my tip toes to get my child out of the crib,and even then, it’s hard sometimes.

  45. I’ll agree that a Bumbo seat is a wait and see item, but it can be very very handy. I’m pregnant with my first, but I babysat my niece when she was 5-6 months old and developed a love of Bumbos as a result.

    My parents declared right of first refusal on all babysitting for my niece (their first grandchild) and my dad retired less than 2 months after she was born. I got to babysit her twice when she was 5-6 months old because they went on vacation. Needless to say my apartment was not equipped with baby stuff. The first time her mom brought her and her diaper bag. I had the child for 5 hours and had no where I could put her down unattended for 5 minutes and use the bathroom. She wasn’t crawling, but she rolled over enough I couldn’t put her in the middle of the floor and be sure stuff would stay out of reach. There was no way I could hold a baby and use the bathroom. I couldn’t put her on the linoleum floor in the bathroom. When her mom got there to pick her up I handed her off and headed straight for the bathroom, I had to GO.

    The next time (later that week) she brought the Bumbo too. THAT was a lifesaver. I could put her in the bumbo in the middle of the floor and be sure she stayed put while I went to pee. I set it on the table as I fed her, and had one hand to hold the baby food container and the other to work the spoon. (I actually didn’t know at the time that you are never supposed to put it on anything, but even now I would in a case like that. Because I was about two inches away the whole time. I took her down before I walked away.)

    A Bumbo is something that you may not use much at home, but it sure was a life saver when she brought it for me and a lot more portable than an exersaucer. You probably won’t leave baby with an unequipped babysitter often, but you also shouldn’t assume that anyone who babysits will buy all the equipment if it’s not a common thing for them to do.

    • I agree with you that having a safe day to keep baby while doing something as basic as going to the bathroom is key. I also agree that it’s even more important if your baby is staying at a house that is not “baby friendly”. When we had babies, we carried around gear while visiting friends and family for that purpose.

  46. Bryana Washington

    I totally agree with the list, thank you so much! It was very resourceful. That list can save a new mother hundreds of dollars! Great list! I have one more to add to the list. BOTTLE WARMER. I dont think that are neccessary, at all. What did moms do before wipe warmers? Heat on stove or microwave (Although it is not recommended to use the microwave to warm bottles). I’ve been using the microwave since my son was 2 weeks and he’s now 4 months. In the middle of the night, you get tired of waiting for a bottle to warm on the stove, it takes at least 15-20 minutes. With the microwave, it takes me 30 seconds to heat a bottle!

    • I didn’t use a bottle warmer either and with breastmilk, we just dunked the bag or bottle into a container of hot water to warm it up in minutes. No need for an additional appliance that takes counter space.

      • When my mom ran a home day care, she put the bottles in a container of hot water in the kitchen sink to warm (this was in the ’80’s-early ’90’s). DO NOT microwave bottles–and uneven heating isn’t even the most important reason. Microwave cooking kills more of the nutrition in food than even boiling the heck out of it does, whether it’s the broccoli used in the experiment that found this out or the breastmilk or formula in your baby’s bottle.

        (Personally, I decided the microwave wasn’t worth the counter space a long time ago, and have a toaster oven instead–they’re not that great a thing to have around)

      • I agree with you, Heather. I’d never microwave formula or breastmilk, or even milk for my kids. Hot tap water is often hot enough to reheat liquids. Otherwise, just heat up water in a kettle for a minute.

    • As a nurse in a very busy hospital nursery, I’m always surprised at the number of people who don’t understand that formula/breastmilk doesn’t need to be heated all that much. Both of which can, and should, be consummed at room temperature. A bottle warmer would take longer to warm up a bottle of breastmilk than placing it in a pan of hot water. In my many years of experience with feeding thousands of babies, the hot water trick works every time.

      A word on safety: Feeding a baby room temperature formula/breastmilk is never going to harm your baby – microwaving and feeding your baby something that is too hot will.

  47. I don’t share your view on playpens being like prison. If playpens are prisons, baby gates and cribs are prisons as well. For that matter, so are closed doors and walls and fenced-in yards! They all serve the same purpose of child containment for the safety of the child.

    If you have a dog, leaving your baby alone with a dog is asking for trouble, no matter how sweet you think your dog is. Cats can and do scratch babies, so I don’t think it is safe to just let them roam when you’re not there to supervise.

    Unless your crib is in a convenient location where you can place your baby when you need to do something that will require most of your attention and/or you must leave your baby alone for a moment – a playpen is a necessity!

    If we’re just talking about newborns, I’d say OF COURSE you can do without one. But to say that they are a “luxury” item is ridiculous. If you can’t or don’t want to spend money on a new one, just find a used one somewhere, or put it on your baby registry and maybe someone will buy one for you! They are so useful for older babies who don’t want to be in an exersaucer or a bouncer and work great as travel cribs for trips.

    Also, as for “not all babies like slings,” well, not all babies like “harness carriers” either.

    • Jennifer, for both playpens as well as slings or carriers, safety should always be the first concern. If your individual situation means it makes sense to buy specific baby gear, then parents should do so. I just think it makes sense for most parents to wait and see what gear they really need as the need comes up, instead of stocking up on all the baby gear available today, just because. Having a safe place for baby to be in while doing anything around the house is essential, and it’s good to observe our own surroundings to figure out what’s best.

  48. Thanks for the list. It has been helpful to read your article and all the comments. I’m expecting my first and when I began the process of starting the baby registry, I found it so overwhelming (i.e. who knew there would be 20 different kinds of sippy cups to pick from, each touting how it helps with this or that dental or health condition). Hopefully now, I can whittle a few things off the list.

    Obviously I’m not experienced with this yet, but it seems to me the crib bedding sets are a waste of money. Unless I’m wrong, you can’t actually use the comforter as a blanket for fear of smothering the baby, and I’m hearing the same now about bumper pads. I must say they are very cute, and probably the most fun thing to pick out for the nursery, but I’m going to stick with painting a mural and forget about paying over $100 for the bedding that can’t be used anyway.

    I’m curious what everyone’s opinion is on the Halo (and similar brands) slumber sacks/swaddlings. I’ve read these are safer than blankets for the baby to sleep in. I know they are supposed to mimic the feeling of being in the womb, but I can’t get past how confining they look. Has anyone used them and do your babies like them?

    And the baby bathtubs seem like a waste of space to me. If you have small quarters (like we do) isn’t the sink just as good?

    Another thing I’ve seen in the store that seems like a luxury to me is the $40 or more shopping cart cover.

    Any other input on the Boppy? I registered for one, but now I’m not sure it will work for me since I’m tall and plus size to boot.

    • Hi Tawnya, thanks for stopping by. I’ll let the other parents chime in, but here’s my take on your questions. Ah, sippy cups… I have to admit we have 5 or 6 types of them in our cabinets. As the kids have grown, we’ve evolved with their needs. I didn’t use a bottle past 10 months and used the soft top sippies first, but quickly switched to the hard top, because both my kids were chewing them off. Them I moved them to straw cups and admit I still use them most of the time, because they’re spill proof and my kids are great spillers… I think you’re going the right way by staying away from blankets and bumper pads. They’re for decoration more than safety. You’ll also notice after a few months that babies move around A LOT in their bed while they sleep, so a blanket is useless. Even my two and a half year old sometimes end up upside down in his bed. This leads me to the Halo swaddle/sleepsack. We used the sleepsacks all the time from age 4 months on, since they move with your baby and they always stay on. I’d definitely recommend them. As for the Halo swaddle, it didn’t exist when I had my boys but they look like a good concept if they stay in place. I strongly advise you to read Dr Karp’s “Happiest baby on the block” to learn the 5 things to need to do for your newborn. Swaddling is the #1 thing you’ll want to do to help your baby sleep for the first 3 months and the best way to calm a baby down. Read a lot on that and buy the best swaddling blankets you can buy. For us, it wasn’t the “swaddle” label but the size of the blanket, to give enough room for a growing baby. I found some 42″x42″ blankets that were just great and saved my sanity. Read a lot about swaddling so you understand why babies need the confinement for the first few months.

      As for bathtubs, wait to see if you need one or not, and whatever works for you and your family. I used one with both my kids but I could probably have managed without them. For the shopping cart cover, I’d recommend looking on craigslist or a resale store. To me, shopping carts are just gross, so it’s worth the use of a cover, but not for $40!

      I used a Boppy all the time for nursing but I am tall and often fit a small pillow underneath the Boppy on the side I was nursing to bring up the baby. I’m not sure about your waist size being an issue or not, so I’d read reviews to figure out the best nursing pillow for you.

      Good luck with your new baby and I’ll stop by your blog to check it out!

  49. I agree with a lot of this but I actually loved the Bumbo and had a lot of fun with my son in it, I just had it on the floor and played with him on that level. I also LOVE my Diaper Genie II and the play yard. We travel a lot so the play yard helps and it provided another space for him to sleep in the apt.

    Also, we love the Bjorn, especially the new one with lumbar support, its been great. But I agree lots of things are “nice to have” not “necessary” and that decision also depends a lot on the kind of space and lifestyle you have. I have to also say I hated the super complex high chairs – the basic simple one from IKEA is a dream and I plan to grab one as soon as they’re back in stock, as I used them when I was traveling and grew to LOVE them!

  50. I loved our play yard for my daughter. We called it her wall. It was bright colors and had toys built into it. We would leave it outstretched to contain her into a safer room and moved it as she grew. When young we put it across the empty dining room giving her a whole play room. We used it later to block the tv and electronics to keep her safe. At Christmas time it went in front of the tree to keep her safe from pulling that down. It also provided her with something to play with and walk along. And then there were days like when we had a garage sale and set it up outside. She was safe and no fear of us turning our back and her wandering into the street. It was one of my favorite baby items next to her Exersaucer. Oh yeah and with both of these “awful” containment items in place she started walking betwen 7-8 months.

    Big waste for us was the swing but for many that is a life saver. It all depends on the child. Now with number two on the way 13 years later we are really choosing our purchases carefully. Wasn’t going to buy a swing but found a nice used one for $15. Okay that’s worth the dozen or so times we will use it. The hard part will be to find a play yard like her old one. Loved that one.

    This thread really proves how different all babies and parents are. But definately no wipe warmer in my future. Warm washcloths and back up cold wipes for the messier side of things works for me. ;-)

  51. Where was this list when I was pregant the first time!!! I am going to put this page on my playgroup’s website…all of our moms could use this list. Thanks!!!

  52. Wow, I disagree with all expect about 3 things. So, many of these things can be helpful. I guess it just depends on your parenting style. I have 5 kids and many of these things have been wonderful!!

  53. Every family is different but it’s nice to have these types of discussions so new parents can make informed decisions about their gear choices. I thought bumbo seats were dumb too until we got a hand-me-down from a cousin when our baby was 2 months old. We use it mostly in the kitchen while preparing meals, doing laundry, etc. We also put her in it at the table (we don’t have a high chair they seem useless). Our baby loves it more than the swing and bouncy seat combined and we love having her close without holding her. We also love our pack-n-play. We put it in our room next to our bed for the first 2 months. I wouldn’t have wanted to live without it the first few weeks after delivery while I healed. Now we take it with us when we visit friends so she has a safe place to lay down to sleep besides a bed or the floor. If I had a do-over I’d skip buying her a crib and just get the pack-n-play because it is so much more versitile. I envision it will be a great place to keep her for a few minutes if we need a bathroom break once she’s mobile too. I do agree with the wipes warmer, we just hold the wipes between our hands for a few seconds and that works just fine. I’m torn on the bumper pads, they look cute but I took them out because they make changing the crib sheets a pain, but I may change my mind and put them back on once she’s moving around more. And, I’d add a bottle warmer to the list. We used ours twice before deciding we want her to get used to drinking room temperature formula/bm to make it easier on us.

  54. What a great list! My baby cannot sleep without a baby bumper…. So I have to disagree to that on your list! I bought the breathable bumper but it was a disaster. THat one is on my dont buy list actually. LOL!

  55. I agree with most of these items, but the bumbo seat is a must in my case. It allows my baby to sit upright with out any pressure on the head (unlike a swing or bouncy seat) and prevents flat spots from forming. Using it for only three weeks prevented my baby from having to wear a helmet!!! Because we are putting babies on their backs for sleep to reduce SIDS, babies with plagiocephaly (misshaped head) has sky-rocketed, so I would recommend them. They are around $40 but its better than paying $2500 for a helmet (not to mention the stress a helmet would put on a little baby). On every one of the other items- I wish I found this list before I spent all of that money.

    • Cassandra, thanks for raising the point about flat spots. Many babies do develop flat spots simply by laying down on their back while sleeping on their favorite side of the head. I did turn my babies’ head while they were sleeping to avoid that, as well as give them plenty of tummy time while awake. The issue with a Bumbo seat is that you can’t put a baby who can’t sit a little on their own already, and by then, most flat head cases have happened. So I say, just keep rotating that head as often as you can!

  56. What is the stroller at the top of the post in the picture? It looks small and compact. I drive a bug so I am looking for a small but good quality stroller for my first baby coming soon:)

    • It’s a Bugaboo stroller, very expensive!!! I personally used a Graco travel system because I wanted the infant seat, and the stroller reclined all the way, great for a sleeping baby. I’ll let the other parents chime in on a good quality, compact stroller for a new baby. They may have some great recommendations.

  57. Graco makes awesome travel systems that last forever and everything from small/compact to full-size. I personally don’t think there is a quality difference in the product, though the bigger more expensive ones obviously have more bells and whistles. Graco’s infant seat that comes with most travel systems as routinely been rated the best or very high by consumer reports and other groups.

  58. I disagree with you on a on a few things! Our play yard has been a huge help when we travel. Our little one does not like co-sleeping and we would have simply had no other option.

    As to brand name formula, we only gave our little one organic formula and there are only a couple of brands that have it,

    & I do love our stroller, which cost around $800. It is ‘iCoo targo and I have simply not seen any cheaper stroller even comparable to this one, in terms of weight, how maneuverable it is, its versatility, etc., etc., etc.

    Otherwise I agree with your list! :)

  59. Wish I had read this before buying 2 walkers for our twins. They’re sitting around collecting dust. Only thing our kids ever did when we put them in it was cry. They’re happier crawling around it :).

  60. I think I agree with everything except for the slings and the pack n play. Our pack n play gets so much use I could not live without it. Our daughter, now 3, was born at 25 weeks and no way was I going to put her in a room by herself. She used the bassinet part of hers to sleep in our room and for naps. We put her in her own bed around 6mths and took the bassinet part out once the started getting on hands and knees.

    Our son, now 1, stayed in the bassinet portion of his pack n play till about 6mths as well and then went in his crib. It was also very convenient to have him next to me for those middle of the night nursing sessions. All three of the kids use their pack n plays anytime they go stay with the grandparents or anytime someone babysits for me outside of our home. It also is handy for those family vacation trips or even just short weekend trips.

    A pack n play would be one of the first things on my list. I don’t and have never used it to restrain our children. Why get a bassinet that they can use for 6mths at the most when a pack n play has the same thing but a larger area and can be used well beyond their 1st birthday(our nephew who we are fostering is 3 and still sleeps in his when we are not at home). Spring for the pack n play you won’t regret it! It’s one of the best investments we’ve made!

    • Jessica, I do agree with you that a pack n’ play is a good (and safe) sleeping option. Parents just have to decide their sleeping arrangements to make sure they don’t end up with many baby sleeping areas with only one being used. And I have to admit it’s hard as a new parent to really know what will work for you until you’re really doing it…

  61. I have to agree that MOST of what is on your list, and what others have commented is true. However, I have to say that there are a few things I disagree with. #1 a swing. I bought a great swing (retails for $180 and I got it from craigslist for $50) and it has been more than a life saver. My daughter spent the first 4 months of her life sleeping in the swing. She has acid reflux and it would get so bad that she was not able to lay down. She would be sound asleep, but as soon as you would lay her down she would almost immediately have projectile vomiting. Even propping up her crib mattress was not good because the height it had to be, she would just slide down to the end. So, to the swing it was. #2 a bottle sterelizer. My daughter had thrush, and it was a pain to get rid of. She had it for about 2 months. We had to sterelize EVERYTHING. Droppers, binki’s, entire bottles, etc. I did the boiling water thing for a while, but when a friend offered me a bottle sterelizer, I tried it. It was amazing! I could do 4 bottles, and extras at once. It was nice to be able to set the time on the microwave and walk away, as opposed to having to stand there and watch the boiling pot. The dishwasher does sanitize, but as it’s only me and my husband. I’m not going to run the dishwasher half empty every day just to sterelize the bottles. That is VERY un-economical. Think how much more you are wasting in water and energy to do that! #3 I also have a wipe warmer. Not that it’s a necessity, but it is a nice luxury – and I only paid $5 for it. I didn’t buy one right away, because I refused to pay $30 or more for it. But when I found one for $5, I figured I’d give it a try. It is a nice touch! Yes, room temperature wipes are fine. But, remember your body temp is 98.6. Room temp is 72. That’s more than a 20 degree jump. Try wiping your own rear with a room temp wet wash cloth. I’m sure a warm one would feel much better to you as well! And lastly, Resale shops are a must when you have a baby, unless you have unlimited funds!

    • I should probably clarify that when i am talking about the bottle sterelizer, I’m talking about the one you add water to and put in the microwave. Not the plug in kind that do it all for you. I would never pay for one of those!!

  62. I wholeheartedly, in every way, disagree with the name brand diaper recommendation. I used Huggies Supreme fancy pants diapers on my newborn because I just didn’t trust anything else. My husband’s aunt sent us some Wal-mart brand (White Cloud) diapers in newborn size, and I thought just like you “Well, maybe since I have to change 10 diapers a day, it won’t matter!” Huge mistake. I put a diaper on him, started to feed, knowing he always stopped in the middle of the feed to poop…. and omg I experienced my very first blow out. Runny yellow breastmilk poop all over his back, pee all over me and we have to interrupt feeding time to go rinse off. Never again. I use store brand diapers now that he’s older, but I’ll never go cheap on a newborn, as he has at least twice as many rashes in store brand diapers as well, because they aren’t as good at pulling moisture away from his skin like my favorite name brand does. I’ve used them all in 18 months.

    I also have a slight disagreement with the formula thing. Don’t buy name brand formula if you can’t afford it, but Enfamil and Similac are the sole makers of medical grade formulas. Buying products from them helps support research and development of products for babies and children with severe feeding issues. I believe Abbot Laboratories makes all kinds of feeding products for people who can’t tolerate any sort of “normal” food. I wouldn’t go broke trying to support them, but to say they don’t need it is wrong.

  63. We bought a cheap $30 walker and our son LOVED it. I never used it as a “babysitter” or just “plopped” him in it when I was busy. our pediatrician actually said they are fine as long as you don’t put your child in to it at too early an age and obviosuly watch them around and stairs. Our son walked at about 10 months We had the jumperroo which he loved but i couldn’t get it in to the kitchen with out taking it apart and an exersaucer which he hated… thank goodness that was borrowed.

    Our play yard was sooo great BUT we never really used it as a play yard. With his nursery being up stairs it was nice to have the changing station, as well as the bassinet part for when we were downstairs.

    IF your child uses enfamil or Similac then that’s great get the generic but my son couldn’t take either of those he ended up doing the best on Nestles Good start which as of yet there is no generic for… If there was a generic I would buy it.

    We have literally tried every brand of diaper and the best for our son is pampers… diapers aren’t cheaper if you have to use more of them. we are pregnant with a little girl now and will be exploring diapers again… Every child is different and shaped different so hopefully she will be able to use a cheaper brand.

    Somebody mentioned the boppy being a waste because it was too small… I”m a size 18ish and the boppy worked great for me!

    I completely agree with bumbo being a waste of money… I can’t stand them.

    The one thing that i didn’t think was going to be as useful as it turned out to be was the Itzbeen baby timer. It absolutely came in handy for the 3 or 4 am feeding… there was no staring at the clock trying to figure out what time i fed/changed him last i knew exactly when it was It also help me keep track of which side i fed on last. Though I probably would have gotten it if I hadn’t planned on having another baby. definitly a “luxury” item but worth it I think.

    • I hear you about that baby timer! It’s definitely not a must-have but seems quite handy. I used a notebook with both of my babies, and there’s not glamorous about keeping notes of pee, poop, left or right boob at 3 o’clock in the morning… I wonder if they make an iPhone app for that!

      • I have an Android phone, and it’s been the BEST tool for pregnancy and beyond, for no extra money beyond my monthly plan! Yes, there’s an app for that, and an app for timing contractions, entertaining babies and toddlers, and not just as a teether, like my nephews used my old cell for, LOL! The most awesome thing about these apps is that they’re FREE. I doubted when my cousin told me a smartphone would be mommy’s best friend, but I’m now a believer. Could’ve saved the $$ I spent on a digital camera and the lullaby CD’s, too, with free Pandora stations. So, I’ll add that if you’re like me and you just need a few minutes to eat in peace with an active toddler or share pics with widespread family and friends on fb, a smartphone is key!

      • I agree that a smartphone can be a lifesaver for busy moms who don’t have 5 minutes to wait for a PC to boot up, or remember where they put their camera to take candid photos of a new baby.

  64. I agree to some extent. I used my playpen as a diaper changer in my living room during those late night feedings/diaper changes with my 1st baby and also for occasional naps because I didn’t like him being away from me in his room at first (it took me a long long time to get preggo so I was very very attached and didn’t want him out of my sight. I used it when we travelled, moved and when we had a few problems in our house and he couldn’t sleep in his bed. My mom bought me the most basic one years before I got preggo and it wasn’t that expensive and we definitely got her $$$ worth.

    I still use my diaper champ 2 1/2 years later! I love it! I’m glad I didn’t go with the diaper genie because I can use whatever garbage bag I want in the diaper genie. The only thing I can’t do now is put my toddler’s poopy diapers in so I put them in a grocery bag and out in the garage until the end of the day if I can’t make it to the garbage every time (I have 2 kids 22 months apart and my hubby was deployed for a while so it wasn’t always conducive for me to go outside to throw a diaper away). I love the diaper champ though!

    I don’t agree fully on the generic formula. My baby girl had a lot of reflux and sensitivity issues at first and the only thing she could tolerate was Similiac Isomil Sensitive…now that she is older I’ve weaned her onto generic Soy but I tried those first few months and she did not tolerate generic!

    Same with generic diapers. For newborns I do think that the brand name diapers are better mainly because they are softer on their sensitive skin. The generics are very paper-like and rough in my opinion and I don’t htink they absorb or pull moisture away as well. I occasionally use Target brand for my 2 1/2 year old but I don’t think they absorb as well. I also think each baby is different with diapers…my son had a reaction to Walmart diapers and Huggies wipes…and he leaked every time I tried using Luvs on him. My daughter can tolerate all brand name diapers but breaks out in a rash with all generics. Also with generic wipes I found I had to use 2-3 times as many to get the job done than with Pampers Thick Sensitive Wipes so I found I wasn’t really saving any money!

    I think if you can borrow some baby items from family or friends or buy from a consignment shop it is worth it. I have to admit I was one of “those” moms who wanted everything brand new for my first baby because I tried 4 years to get pregnant with him and was told I”d never conceive naturally and my chances of miscarrying were high so having my babies were truly miracles! I felt that because I tried so hard, went throough a lot of tests and heartache, etc…I and my baby deserved to have everything and everything new! I’m glad he was an easy going baby that liked everything (swing, bouncer, snuggli, playpen, etc…) but he used them for such a short amount of time mainly because he grew so fast! I wish I would have researched carseats and strollers better to get more bang for my buck (which btw you don’t have to get teh most expensive carseat to have the best or safest carseat).

    My son didn’t spend much time in his crib but we are getting $$$ worth now with my daughter.

    Items I do suggest are a video monitor (I didn’t have one with my son but love it with my daughter), diaper champ, microwavable sterelizing bags for bottles, breastpump accessories and pacifiers, save up for wipes, diapers and formula because you don’t know what your baby will be able to tolerate or how fast he/she will grow until you have them. Also keep tags on baby’s clothes in older sizes. my son grew so fast he didn’t wear half of the clothes we had for him.

    overall I agree with some of this article…I use bumper pads and would probably use a wipe warmer if I had space and borrowed a bumbo seat…

    I say borrow what you can because you wo’t use most forlong

    Oh and if you are planning on pumping spend the money for a good breastpump!

  65. Thanks for the tips! As a new mom-to-be, that really help me save a lot of $$$$$!!!

  66. I don’t know if it’s been mentioned yet (too many comments to read them all), but I would definately add sleep positioners, car seat postioners, and car seat protectors to your list of don’t buys. Sleep positioners can be a suffocation hazard and increase the risk of SIDS. Car seat positioners (the thing you put in an infant seat to make baby feel snuggly) are unsafe to add unless they are made by the same manufacturer as the car seat. You can safely roll up receiving blankets and add them around the sides of the baby after the baby is properly secured in the seat. Car seat protectors (the thing you out under the baby seat to protect your upholestery) are unsafe to add to the car seat. I know in some cases, the car seat maker cannot be held liable in case of an accident if you’re using an add-on such as a positioner or seat protector.

    • Thanks for mentioning the various positioners. I especially agree with the car seat protectors, which are a safety hazard and can make the car seat slide. I’ve also used rolled-up towels to hold the baby’s head in a car seat unless he was big enough to hold his head up by himself.

  67. found my way here via amazon (casually glancing around the baby stuff)… a lot of this makes sense to me for sure, except that i couldn’t live without the baby sling… i own a snugli, a moby wrap AND a new native baby sling (the only one i purchased was the moby, the others were gifts). my partner loves the new native sling – it’s simple and doesn’t feel like a nylon straightjacket (snugli) and isn’t overwhelming to him (like the moby)… we don’t even own a stroller.

  68. My mother-in-law LOVES the playard for her day care kids. She has to put one of the younger babies in there to keep the older toddlers from wrestling with him (trying to teach them not to hasn’t done much because there aren’t children she has 24/7). The baby loves sitting in there and playing with his toys and napping there as well.

    We love our wipes warmer too. It gets pretty chilly in our home at night and those warm wipes keep baby from being startled awake by freezing wipes in the middle of the night.

    As for the walker.. our 6-month old loves that too. She likes to be upright and moving around, so her jumperoo didn’t last very long.

    Of course, those things being said, we paid nothing for our wipes warmer or walker. MIL gave us both. And I’m sure my MIL got her playard for pretty cheap. She’s a great bargain shopper. :)

    I definitely agree about brand-name formula and diapers though! We have been using Meijer and Wal-Mart brand formula (their “generic” version of Similac Advance) and we buy diapers by the case from We’ve used those the most and they work better for us than some of the name-brands. (We used diapers and overnight pampers. Guess which worked better. Here’s a hint: It wasn’t the pricier pampers!)

  69. I agree with most of your list. Like many others, I too have a BOB and adore it, especially for its ability to go over all types of terrain. Of course, my husband is a farmer, so we use it in the fields! I don’t know of any cheap stroller that would roll over a watermelon bed! Our sidewalks in our small town are a mess as well, and I don’t have a single problem rolling over the uneven parts!
    I was committed to breast feeding and didn’t plan to use a whole lot of bottle accessories, but that changed with a 2 months NICU stay due to GBS pneumonia and sepsis — my daughter started breastfeeding and then we had to add calories to my milk in a bottle — after that she never went back to breast. I pumped for 11 months. On top of all that, the antibiotics I got in labor for GBS gave me a severe yeast infection that was in my milk, and I didn’t know. Long story short, I had to buy a bottle sterilizer b/c I got tired of boiling them for xx minutes (I can’t remember now!) every day, and it was a lifesaver! (We fought thrush for 3 months before I ended up taking 10 days of diflucan.) I certainly don’t plan to use if there’s a next time!

    • Looks like you had a rough ride but I love to hear how committed you were to using breastmilk that you pumped for so long. It does take a lot of effort. I hope things go better for the next one. That was certainly the case for me.

  70. Thank you for your blog, this has really given me quite a bit to think about and has confirmed much of the advice I’ve been given from other moms.

    I’m 35 weeks pregnant and I have certainly done my share of research of what is needed versus what is simply desired. I shop consignment sales and have found quite a few good things. Unfortunately, we purchased an expired travel system, but only a $30 loss, and not a total loss because the stroller is still in working condition and has no recalls on it.

    I agree with the posting about the quality of a carseat. We got a convertible one by Safety 1st which has the air cushions positioned next to the baby’s head. While this may seem like unnecessary technology, it provides extra cushion that no other car seat has. It is quite comfortable, much more than any Graco we’ve looked at. With our nearest family being 11+ hours away, this was worth the investment at $160. Also, it has no problem being rear facing or forward facing, plus it can be used until our son is 40lbs. I’ve put it in my car next to the other (expired because of age) carseat and it reclines and fits perfect.

    I did buy the moby wrap and I even made a mock one myself (super easy) out of jersey knit, I also brought a Baby Bjorn carrier for my hubby as he refuses to wear the wrap. From what I’ve found, the whole theory on the BB being bad for a baby’s back is if the baby isn’t strong enough to hold up his head on his own and it’s not meant to be worn all day. Otherwise there isn’t an issue with it.

    I tried to get the $200 crib, but my MIL insisted on buying us a $600 convertible crib. I must admit, it’s a beautiful piece of furniture, it’s sturdy and made of solid wood, so I know it’ll handle moving from our apartment to a home, as well as a kid or three for some time to come. Additionally, it can be used as the toddler bed and then we can use the front and back panels as head & foot boards for a very adult looking fullsize bed. I’m 5’3″ and have severe back problems, we have the spring set at the highest setting and the crib isn’t even in there yet, and already I can see that lifting our little one out won’t be an issue. While I can’t see spending $800 on a traditional Bellini crib, I think convertible cribs certainly have their place.

    I brought the Arms Reach Co-sleeper from Craigslist for $50 and figured it was a great buy since I am breastfeeding. But once our little man can sit up, we can’t use it anymore and I think a pack and play will definitely have it’s place when we head on those road trips up north to grandmas.

    I totally agree about the wipes warmer (IMHO) and some of those other items on the so called “must have” lists when you register at the baby stores. But obviously most of these things work for somebody, as they continue to sell them. Since I have everything I need, I’m not worried about getting a bumbo or any other gadget to make my life easier. I’m planning to play it by ear and see what else he may need, aside from our love and affection.

  71. On the topic of receiving blankets — we had store bought ones and ones that my mom made and the ones my mom made were PERFECT for swaddling. The store bought ones we used to cover our carseat/carrier and that was about it. My mom makes her blankets from a piece of 45″ wide flannel cut to 90″. She folds it in half, surges around the outside, and uses her sewing machine to put in a fancy stitch 1ft in from the edge all the way around. The result: cute, comfy, and large enough to actually swaddle with.

    The sling I liked, but my husband preferred a harness. The most important thing about a sling is to have someone who has used the same style sling before show you how to use it. I tried figuring it out on my own and my daughter screamed each time. After another mom showed me how DD fell asleep right away.

    Diaper pails: I found a cheap one that closes securely (and takes normal trash bags) to be sufficient and useful — it kept our daughter out of the diapers once she could pull up, and we lived in an apartment, so running to the dumpster each diaper change wasn’t an option. We BF so our DD diapers weren’t that stinky until she got to solids anyway (and smells don’t bother me much anyway). Now that she’s a toddler though, I do wish we had gotten a smaller pail so that we throw the diapers out more often. Ours’ will hold at least a weeks worth and they really start to smell at about that point.

    Diapers: I think it really depends on how sensitive your baby’s bum is. We started out with Pampers since my husband and I both have lovely skin conditions and did not want to deal with an infant with diaper rash. We got more adventurous as she got older and experimented with cheaper brands, but they did indeed make our DD break out in a rash. Of course once the Dry Max came out so did the Pampers -.- Baby dry works though! And they are ridiculously cheap on Amazon w/ subscribe and save. I will give you the overnight diapers, at least for small children. I almost freaked when my DD started wetting through her diapers overnight and they didn’t have overnights that would fit her at 20lbs. BRU sells disposable inserts though! They’ve been a great solution and kept us from having to buy two styles of diapers.

    One more thing for older babies at least: those darn snack cups with the no spill lid. I thought they were the bees knees when my daughter started eating cheerios etc. It wasn’t until 4 mos later that she was able to get some cheerios out of the cup without blasting 5 or 6 all around her as her fist came out. We use Ziplocs now — the sandwich size since the snack size aren’t deep enough to prevent spills. Granted she would dump the food out from time to time, but she’s learned that if she does that her snack gets taken away. For the eco-conscious — a reusable food-safe bag with a zipper would serve the same purpose.

    • I hear you about the snack cups with spillproof lids. My kids have complained so many times about getting their fingers stuck in there and not being to get food out, even though we tried different kinds and they got older and more coordinated, that we completely gave up on them and stuck with ziplock bags. Yes, they do drop the bags and spill sometimes but at least I don’t hear them complain about not being able to eat!

      • I bought the Snack Trap brand snack cups at Babies R Us about a year and a half ago, and my kids still use them daily. The lids are silicone, but soft enough that I’ve never had any problems with fingers or food getting stuck. My kids are 2 and 3 1/2 now. Looking at the Snack Trap cups & the other ones BRU carries, I think the others are probably knock-offs of the Snack Traps.

  72. I agree that sometimes parents go overboard buying things they don’t need. But then again, we’re Americans. We buy things we don’t need all the time. How many pairs of shoes do we really need? How big or fancy of a car do we really need? And what about those “must have” kitchen appliances that we all have gathering dust in our cabinets.

    My point is that it bugs the heck out of me to see parents who splurge on everything for themselves debating what corners they can cut with their kids. If you’re truly on a budget and you live frugally across the board, that’s one thing. But if you just bought yourself a 50″ Plasma TV and three new pairs of shoes you don’t need, should you really be debating whether to get that highly rated car seat or the base model? Isn’t your kid’s happiness/safety/need more important than your own?

    I’m just sayin…

  73. I’m really surprised to read comments from so many several-child-moms issuing very broad sweeping statements.

    We have 4 kids, and as they always say, every baby is different.
    My oldest: hated slings/wraps, LOVED her swing, didn’t sleep in her crib until after her first birthday – she had, I swear, crib sonar. She would fall asleep in her car seat, or swing, or on the floor, etc. You could pick her up, haul her around like a sack of potatoes or with the utmost care…. and as long as you were moving her, say, from the swing to the floor, she stayed asleep, not a stir. As soon as you tried moving her to a crib, she was awake and screaming. Daycare didn’t believe me at first, gave me the “oh, we have lots of moms say that, but all our babies sleep just fine in their cribs here” speech…. within a month, they were asking me how she could tell it was a crib when she was sound asleep. In other words, her crib was a waste of money and space, but seemed like an obvious need before she was born. She was happy to take a bath or shower with mom or dad, water could be running down the front of her head and she’d laugh and splash her hands in it. She weaned herself at exactly 6 months by utterly boycotting the boob.

    Second child was the “perfect baby”. He was content to play on a blanket on the floor, he was happy to be held, he napped in his crib, was easy to keep on a schedule, could take or leave pretty much any baby gear out there. He was okay with anything (still is, really, even as a teen), but seemed to prefer sink baths. He was formula fed and would take any bottle.

    Third child was whineybaby. It wasn’t that she didn’t like things so much as she was a phase baby. The bouncer was the shiznit one week; the next week, the bouncer induced screaming fits, while the swing that she had previously used only to practice skydiving by trying her best to fling herself from it was The One Thing. Bathing was anybody’s guess, any possible option might make her joyful and giggly, or screaming mad. She liked to nurse, but mostly she was just a piggy – she’d take anything she could get. (Until she went from baby food to solids, when she became Miss Finicky.)

    Fourth child was mama’s velcro baby. Baby swings made him scream each and every time… mobywrap was his addiction. He slept in his crib in spurts, but by then we were mostly cosleepers anyway. If I wanted time away from him when he was very little (bathroom, etc), my best bet was plopping the Bumbo on the floor – he loved being able to sit upright even though he couldn’t sit by himself! He was also my big nurser… he did get formula supplements some, but he had to be REALLY hungry to accept that. We mostly weaned at about 15 months, though even as a preschooler he’d ask to be nursed like he was when he was a baby (I never had a great supply, so by the time he’d been weaned for about 3 weeks, it wasn’t an option anyway).

    Okay, I’ll stop here, because I think I’ve made my point. By the time my youngest came along, I had a pretty firm policy on buying baby gear – other than the carseat, a variety of diapers/inserts/liners, some size-flexible clothes (nothing like taking to the hospital a “going home” outfit size newborn, then trying to cram a baby that came out two sizes bigger than that into it!), and some baby blankets, we are a strictly try-it-before-you-buy-it family. Sometimes you have to search out somewhere to do that, be it a second-hand store (one near us sells carseats – I would never buy one that way, but I did make use of it to try out several models to see what fit our little stringbean the best), a friend who has the gear you’re considering, a specialty store, etc. but if you put your little one in a swing and get nothing but screams, won’t that be worth a little effort not to blow the cash on it?

  74. I remember at my own baby shower 2 years ago friends fighting over what was useful and what was not useful… and then what I found to be useful and not so useful myself. Like those little toddler tubs that cost like 20 bucks? Everyone said they were a waste of money… well we used ours for 2 years!!! Anyways, yes, there is a lot of baby crap out there and most of it we dont need, but some of it is actually useful. I thought I wouldnt really need a pack n play so I bought one used… two years later we still use it… for sleeping, containing while I am in the shower or grabbing groceries from the car, and for trips. The bumbo, also bought second hand for like 10 bucks worked wonders when baby started eating solid food at 6 months. We used it for up to a year and it was awesome. Sad that a parent wouldn’t know that its a safety hazard to use it on an elevated surface!!! We only used it on the floor. Oh and our bottle sanitizer, we used everyday,multiple times a day for a year. It cost like under 10 bucks and it gave me piece of mind… oh and we don’t have a dishwasher. You know one thing I could have done without ironically? A diaper changing table! So much easier to change the baby on the floor!

    • We also had a toddler tub and used it for every bath for both of our kids for a long time. For us, it was a safe place to bathe them, we saved on water and they didn’t splash everywhere. At only $20, you can buy it new or used, but I admit a kitchen sink or some other home device probably works as well.

  75. Hi, I am a mom to 7 and found almost all baby products unnecessary. As far as complete waste of space and money i would add the diaper genie, and the baby baths. You just take out the trash each day. The baby baths I have never gotten. My babies just take a bath with me. Yu can also put a towel on the bottom of the tub and fill it just a little for a “baby bath” but those big plastic thing would drive me nuts. I disagree on the stroller… I live in the city and need a real stroller that can take a huge beating. The only baby items I use are a Moses basket, simple crib, stroller, blankets and a bouncy seat. I like the ergo too. I newer item I like is the pea pod, a tent for babies to sleep in… I am a stickler for naps so I keep this in car and if we are somewhere else at nap time… I pop it up and he naps.

  76. I really enjoyed this blog and the discussion that followed.

    I am a mom to 5 I have a bugaboo stroller that I love. My cousin works for the company and gave it to me when my first was born (I admit I would not have paid that much for it… one of the reasons I love it is that it was free!). It has lasted, so far, through 5 kiddos and world travel. We are Americans but have lived the past years in Indonesia and Singapore. My stroller has made it through the gravel/ dirt roads and in the big city. We use the bugaboo bassinet as a baby bed when traveling too.

    We also have a baby jogger for one of our 4 year olds who has Cerebral Palsy… the stroller holds up to 65 lbs and has lasted from birth to 4 years with no problems.

    We have very little other baby gear. I use the Moby and the Ergo… they are on my “essential” list. We grow our family through adoption so “wearing” our babies is so important for me and my husband as it promotes attachment and bonding. LOVE both the Moby and Ergo!!!

    We also never have used a crib with any of our kiddos. Living overseas you get to see just how much of our baby stuff is cultural. We have co-slept with all our kiddos from birth to about 4. We used a arms reach co-sleeper (which can become a pack n play as baby grows) for the ones who slept better in their own space, or who rolled around a bit, and had the other ones in bed w/ us as it customary in Indo. We also don’t use covers in Indo so less suffocating risk.

    I have never used a baby bath and for us would be a waste of time and space. We use the sink or baby bathes with us!

    We are home in America now and just brought home our newest baby 2 months ago. I was shocked to take a stroll into Babies R Us looking for the formula they had on sale. I had no idea how much stuff one can purchase for a baby… Like a napping pillow. Speaking of formula, we do buy the expensive organic stuff b/c we do organic. I usually have time to pump in breastmilk but did not for this adoption so while I try to get my milk in I like being able to read and understand all the ingredients in my sweet girl’s formula.

    I do like having a swing… purchased on Craigslist. Baby loves to nap in it while I homeschool the older kiddos.

  77. I agree with your list but there’s a bunch more I’m sure, lol.
    I loved my bumbo seat but I got it on craigslist & got 2 for $20 instead of $40 each! I’d never pay $40 but it was great to have especially since my daughter hated tummy time & I didnt want her laying on her back all the time.
    I agree with comments saying the Ergo is the way to go. The bjorn is supposed to be bad for their spine.
    We needed our play yard for vacation & sleeping out of the house but that was only a handful of times…I’d say get a cheap one.

  78. Pingback: Perfecting motherhood

  79. I received a wipe warmer at my shower and what a waste of space! I’ve maybe used it once? Maybe?

  80. I read your list, and agree to some, and believe that instead of eliminating some, get ones that can be used for a life time. Let me explain, cribs, well I am having twins, so we had to consider the longevity of the crib, we went with the Portacrib, very nice, the inner platform where the mattress rests on, has four levels, so it grows with baby, you keep lowering it as the baby starts to turn, roll, stand. Then the great thing about this crib, is when it is time to say goodbye to the crib, with a purchase of a simple attachment the crib turns in to a twin bed, now you have a bed until child is te , eleven, or you want something new, or not.
    Secondly the diaper changer, when my daughter was born seven years ago, the diaper changer was ideal for the bathroom, everything ready right next to the bath, as she aged and we no longer needed it, the diaper changer hosts the tv for upstairs bedroom, and the drawers hold sheets, pillowcases etc, and toiletries, so we have had this wonderful piece now for seven years, with the twins, we got a hand me down from a family member that has been around from the first baby sixteen years ago.
    I never believed in a walker, as it forces the baby to do something, baby might not be ready for, never bought one for my daughter and she was walking by ten months, just every so often exercise baby’s legs.
    The sterilizer for me is a God send, because many times I have fallen asleep, and I don’t have to worry about burning down the house with a pot of unchecked water, or spending unnecessary time in the kitchen scrubbing bottles, they work well, you can do several at once, and put them away in an air tight container, when you get around to them, because once locked in they can stay for several hours sterilized. Nice.
    I believe in the travel systems and the sling, they have their uses and their times, as well as the pack and play, going out anywhere, this was a God send, but generally when baby was tired and you can cover her over with a mosquito net and not worry, or have your family or in laws worrying and getting on your nerves about safety and mosquitos.
    Slings are ideal for supemarkets, walks, needing your hands free, again not all the time. Travel systems aree ideal when baby falls asleep in the car, and instead of having to carefully lift baby out without waking her/him you just pick up the carrier and into the pram. Nice.
    Swings and bouncers and those items to me are a waste of money, but helpful on a day, just get a used one or get a family member to buy one.
    Well hope I have added something of value to the discussion.

  81. great list. i actually wanted one of those cribs myself but didnt get one. i still wished i got one too though. at 5 ft tall and the crib at the highest setting plus my son being bigger and taller than average it is still very hard for me to put him in the crib! but he is growing at an incredible rate so it soon wont be a problem.

    • Another mom previously said that mom’s short height wouldn’t be a problem if cribs were not built with legs 2 feet long. She actually suggested to chop off those legs to make it just the right height for short moms. I say go for it! ;-)

  82. I love your list! I agree with pretty much everything. The one CRAZY exception? The wipes warmer. Yes, the wipes warmer.

    I know most people feel it’s ridiculous, but not for us mamas that choose to cloth diaper our kiddos. A wipes warmer is a way of prepping and storing the pre-moistened cloth wipes for easy use. While it’s not a requirement for cloth diapering, for my family–and for many other families on the cloth diaper forums–it makes the whole process MUCH EASIER.

    Also, the cloth wipes DO stay warm once pulled out. We live in Minnesota–so the winter nights are frequently sub-zero temperatures. It’s really nice on my hands to not hold a frozen wipe.

  83. I’m still waiting for my son to be born, his due date was yesterday.. but I have a 3 year old daughter. When I got pregnant with her, we were unable to purchase a lot of things and I think the only thing we ended up buying was a Pack ‘N Play. I had a little brother who is only 3 years older than my daughter and we used his car seat. We got the crib at a flee market. (Although it worried me greatly, we didn’t have any issues until she was big enough to move to a tot bed.) All of her clothes were purchased at garage sales or handed down from her cousin who is about 9 months older. The Pack ‘N Play was a complete waste of money. We bought it at first because we didn’t have a crib and decided we could use the bassinet feature in place of that. She hated it. She ended up sleeping on my chest for 3 months, until we got the crib. Once she was older, she hated being in it at all. So it’s sat around collecting dust.
    This time around, we bought a lot of the clothes new (I shopped around for the best deals.) but the main expenses were once again thwarted. We received a crib and matching changing table that were purchased brand new a year ago from my sister-in-law. And a close friend was getting ready to donate a Graco travel system and offered it to us first. Although that Pack ‘N Play we had previously purchased is pink and gray, we’re keeping it around to see if our son will like it. (My little brother loved to play in his, every child is different.) I don’t see any reason why the color would be a big deal – especially because it’ll be for home use only.
    I find diaper stackers a complete waste of money. I like the diapers I use to fit nicely in the diaper bag and if you transfer them out of the tight packaging, they tend to ‘poof’ making it difficult to fit everything in an organized manner in the diaper bag.
    I find myself wishing I hadn’t purchased Gerber bottles. I bought a breast pump that I didn’t realize came with Playtex Drop-Ins bottles and now I know I’ve wasted money buying both 4oz and 8oz Gerber bottles, when I know I’ll just use the drop-ins. Even the second time around, I’m still learning. I guess I should have payed attention. : )

  84. For the most part this is a GREAT list. Yes, poor first time mums sucked into wasting so much money. I do not agree with two of your items. First is the sling -if you dont’ have a preemie and you are constantly looking at your child, no chance of suffocation here and my second baby loved it. Bjorn was too big for a newborn. I used that next and then the Ergo. LOVED my sling and so did my cozy baby. Second is the pricey stroller. My friend bought two cheapy strollers (in the $150 range) and they both broke. She bought the first as she didn’t want to spend money on a pricey one, it broke, then number two and it broke. They also just do not drive as well as the expensive strollers. You use this piece of equipment a lot and it lasts years … well, if you buy a good one it will last years. I love love love my Uppa Baby :) I’m on baby #2 and it is still going strong and looking great. Well worth the money in the long run.

    • I bought 2 strollers. The first one was a Graco, with the travel system, reasonably priced. It looked almost as new when I retold it even though it took quite a beating with 2 kids. The second was a twin Baby Jogger, expensive. After 3 years, it still looks like new and we’ve taken it on some paths it definitely shouldn’t go on. It’s so good and we’ve gotten so many compliments and questions on it, I’ll write a review on it. I think it’s like everything, you could spend a lot or very little on a stroller. If you don’t want to splurge, a good quality, mid-priced stroller will do for most parents.

  85. I am a mother of my first baby, now he´s 1 year old and I totally agree with your list.
    I am Brazilian, but before I got pregnant, when I was planning it, I went to USA to buy baby itens… And of course I had no idea of what was important and usable or not… I bought toooo many things… too much money spent for almost nothing… The item I most remember I tried using but it was tooo noisy was a bottle warmer… I tried to use it mainly at daybreak but, when the water was warm it always started: piii piiii piii piii… and uses to wake my husband, my baby and certainly some of my neighborhood… LOL…
    Another item I bought recently and regretted: one stroller, a second one… The idea was having one lighter stroller, different from the travel system we have that is quitte big and heavy… What a dream… With this new one (it is really small, weighs less than 8 pounds) we need 4 or 5 steps to put it on… it is not easy fold… So, another alert is it: only buy easy fold strollers because when you park on a shopping mall, for example, and you need to solve things fastly you do not have time to read the strollers manual to put it on always, always and always!!! :)

    • Oh, I hear you about the easy to fold stroller! We’ve tried so many strollers in the store and my criteria was always to be able to fold and unfold it with one hand. There are actually not that many strollers that can let you do that!

      • If anyone wants a recommendation for a low-ish priced, totally easy to live with single stroller, I would highly recommend the Jeep Liberty single jogger, with the swivel front wheel. I have one of these, bought several years ago. It has lasted through 2 kids, even with being kept outdoors part of the time, and I plan to use it for our third, due later this summer. It folds one-handed, has an infinite recline (maybe not quite flat, but I don’t use a stroller much before 6 months old, so it’s not an issue for me), and a nice big basket, as well as cupholders for both baby and Mama. Some models have ipod speakers, but mine doesn’t. This stroller cost me about $100, and has been well worth every penny. It has been everywhere from the airport to the beach to the flea market to the mall. It isn’t particularly light, and it does take up car space, but it is EASY to use, easy to steer, and just easy to deal with, so I don’t care. I have bought a couple of cheap umbrella strollers, for something light on weight and space to keep in the car, but they are just too aggravating, so it’s always back to the Jeep.

      • Thanks, Heather, for the stroller review and recommendation. Sounds like a great stroller! I agree about the umbrella strollers. Somehow they are the hardest to open and close.

  86. Don’t put brand name diapers on a baby!! They dye them with chlorine and are extremely bad for the environment, hence, they don’t decompose. You’ll save money and the earth by purchasing organic reusable diapers.

  87. The Bumbo that we bought used for $20 was the best purchase we made for our son. He loved being able to sit up straight and comfortable and I could do a couple of things while he was sitting there and unable to get into to trouble. Seriously.

  88. Well I argee with about half of this list I used a sling with my daughter and still do on occasion and it was a life saver when it came to cooking she didnt like to get set down.
    And the walker I didnt use it as a baby sitter at all it just made her happy to move sience she hadnt started crawling yet when I got it for her yes It didnt get used for long but most baby gear doesnt.
    They bumbo help to get a start on her sitting up and she liked being in it. you can put your baby in it before they start sitting up on their own and it helps stablize them I would leave them in it for long before they can sit up on there own and when they get more stable its perfect to feed them in.
    Play yards can be a waste money I have one made probaly in the 60s/70s that I love and am thinking about trying to repair the mesh it folds up ten times easyer then the the newer play pens A freind gave it to me. All I use a play pen for is when I am outside other then that baby gates are put in door ways that I want blocked of and just made the rest of the house as kid friendly as posable.
    Also I would use luvs but my daughter has an allergy to one of the chemicals in them I dont know if they started making them differntly because I didnt have the same problem when she was younger so I use Pampers I have tried other brands and kept getting leaked on.I also tried cloth but thats not for everyone and since I have a choice I stick with pampers yes it is more expensive I figured it out to cost me 660 a year in diapers for one child about 55 a month so really its not to bad I look for coupons and sales. If you add in wipes is only about 5 dollars more a month as long as you buy them in bulk. Also they have the rewards program that you can get free stuff from that is supposed to be going on till 2013. I am going to use cloth training pants so she can actually feel that she is wet.
    My biggest life saver for taking a shower was a doorway jumper once she was about 5 months and able to sit up with no help.
    I also think a infant car seat is a waste of money. I have one because a friend gave it to me and thats the only reason.

  89. Wow, this conversation is still going strong. Wish I’d had this when my little one came along. A few things I found to be an absolute waste – Bottle Warmer & Wipe Warmer, One thousand Receiving blankets I received at a shower that DD hated and wriggled out of everytime I put her in one. And contrary to popular belief, I could probably count on 2 hands the number of times my DD spit up and she did not drool much when teething, so the 2 dozen or so infant bibs were in like new condition when I got rid of them. The key seemed to be to A) Not overfeed and B) Using the right (ie fancy multi-part) bottles helped tremendously. We used, drop ins, Avent, and a few others before settling on Born Free. She had minimal gas and no spit up with Born Free. Wish I’d tried them in the beginning.

    Some items that were absolutely indespensable (please don’t shoot me!): As a plus-size woman, with short legs and a very bad back, I found the drop-side crib an absolute necessity. Even at the highest setting, there were days I was nearly in tears bending over to pick up my barely 10lb infant. I dreaded the times when the bed had to be moved down a notch. I’m sorry, but everyone seems to assume that your child is always UPRIGHT when it’s time to get them out of bed. NOT! What about a sick baby or times when you have to get them out of the bed BEFORE they have woke up? (Think working moms, here!). At the lowest setting, I thought I was going to fall inside the crib when bendng over it! I really feel sorry for the moms in the same situation as me. I don’t know what I would have done with fixed sides.

    We also LOVED the Bumbo. It was indespendable for feeding as we received a truly dumb space-saving high chair that I detested using. God, I hated that blasted thing that wasn’t even large enough to put a small saucer on. But, the Bumbo, we toted that thing everywhere, out to eat, to Grandma’s, to a family party/social. And YES, we used it on a table, too and my child did not keel over and die! It’s called not walking away from your child, stoopid people. Geez, where is the child going to go if you’re sitting right there? We used this thing for 2 years – a valuable investment.

    Name Brand diapers – I wish I could have used generic, but they simply did not contain DDs blow out poos. We found Pampers to be best for newborns and keeping down rashes, but did not work well as she got older. Huggies were best for when she was older and especially best for when she was drowning in a pool of urine in the middle of the night but was still too small for the “Overnights”. Huggies were the only ones that mostly contained everything.

    Bassinette – I find this to be a pretty useless piece of equipment to only be used for a month or two, especially considering the cost. However, with my back problem, we found it to be invaluable to use as another changing station on the first floor so I did not have to keep walking up and down the stairs or bend over on the floor. We used it probably for a year for this purpose.

    Baby Equipment – Bouncer, Jumperoo, Walker, Exersaucer – you will never know until after your child is born if they will even like it. Every child is different. If you don’t receive it at a shower, try to borrow one to see if they will like it or get it 2nd hand. My DD did not like a bouncer or walker, but absolutely LOVED the exersaucer. She would play in that thing for hours if I let her. Of course I did not, but it was invaluable if I needed to go to the bathroom and did not want to have to worry about her getting into things or to be able to cook dinner without her pulling on my legs while I’m trying to cook at the stove. As for a jumperoo – would have been nice to use, but we had no suitable door frames to place one on, so keep that in mind.

    Brand Name Formula – We would have loved to save some money there too. And despite all the claims that the ingredients are identical, there is obviously something *different* about them. Otherwise, my DD would not have become constipated or had explosive diarrhea for several days whenever we tried to switch up the formulas on her. We tried them, all too. The only one that did not give her these problems was Similac.

    The other thing I regretted was spending so much money on nursery decor. Did I REALLY need to buy the matching bedding, sheets, curtains, night light, lamp, hamper, chair cover, etc?? Seriosly, buy one or two focal point items and buy basic colors on everything else.

    Baby Wrap – I think my DD would have loved this, but because of my back issues, I don’t see how I could have used it, although a Moby *might* have been the closest thing if I’d learned of it sooner.

    2 other lifesavers – A double breast pump for when nursing did not work – between flat nipples (nipple covers did not work well) and my DDs crooked mouth (identified by lactation consultant), we were doomed from the get go. I tried to nurse for 2 months and finally resorted to pumping. If it were not for the pump, I would have given up feeding breast milk after 2 months. And, during this time, a basic SWING was an absolute lifesaver. And after I was no longer pumping, I moved it into a spare bathroom and put her in it while I was showering. Often she’d fall asleep and I got to take as LONG of a shower as I could possibly want!

    Oh, and another Back Saver was the Primo infant to toddler tub. It was more expensive, but it was FABULOUS. I NEVER felt safe holding my baby while I was in the shower, always afraid her silky smooth skin combined with water was an accident waiting to happen. We used the tub for 2 years. She LOVED it. It allowed me to have 2 free hands to bathe her. We were able to place it on top of our double sinks in the bathroom. And that meant no bending over a tub, afraid my back was going to give out on me. Truly wonderful and another good investment for our family.

    A good sleep saver for us was a baby monitor set. We went a month without one after she went in her crib and I spent most nights on high alert, *thinking* I heard a peep from her and running to her room to see. A good monitor put a quick end to that.

  90. While I think most of your list is just fine, I am a babywearer and couldn’t live without my slings. I have several ring slings, mei tais, soft structured carriers, and one woven wrap and they make my life with my little ones so much sweeter. I would never ever buy a “harness” carrier like a Bjorn or Snugli. They are just poorly designed and there are lots of nicer ones out there (Olives & Applesauce is one of my favorites).
    Formula – I have to strongly disagree on this one. I am not able to breastfeed and the only formula I will give to my babies is Nature’s One Baby’s Only Organic formula. Nature’s One is a wonderful company with good moral values that really cares about the ingredients that go into it’s formula. It is true that all infant formulas in the US must meet the same nutritional requirements; however, many of them use ingredients like corn syrup solids to achieve this. If you must give your baby formula, look carefully at the ingredients and compare brands to make sure you are choosing the one that you feel is best. Nature’s One also does not use any BPA in their packaging, which is common in other formula packaging.

  91. IMHO all disposable diapers and wipes are a huge waste of money.
    Slings and wraps are very beneficial to a babies development as well as a huge help for moms. You might want to do a little more research on babywearing.

    • Regarding babywearing, I’m just suggesting parents do their research to find a solution that is safe, and works for them and their baby. Waiting for baby to be born and trying something out can work best, since not all babies like one type of sling or carrier.

  92. This is a great list. As a first time mom, it really good to hear from experienced parents about the true essentials rather than a pages of lists you get at the stores.
    I do have to say- as a pediatric physical therapist- please dont recommend exesaucers or jumparoo’s to parents. They are equally bad as the walkers for hip development. There are a lot of parents I hear from who say their older child used it and everything was fine etc. In my opinion, the baby needs to be on the floor till they crawl and pull to stand.
    None of the fancy equipment is really required for natural development!

    • I agree with you that floor time is best, and any other baby apparatus should be used for a limited time. Many studies show that 10 or 15 minutes propped up in such gear is fine but some parents can leave their babies in there for hours. Everything in moderation!

  93. Deborah Grelle

    I bought a used Jumperoo for my granddaughter and she absolutely loved it. We couldn’t leave her in it for more than a few minutes because she would invariably have a bowel movement. We now call it the pooperoo. Great cure for constipation!

  94. Moby wrap is an essential for daily activities, great for airpot & train travel too!
    Really the disposable diaper should be on this list… why cause mounds of garbage and terrible diaper rashes?
    And the bumbo seat is actually a nice thing to have around, sure its a limited time thing but it helps them learn to sit (I bought mine on craigslist for $15 w/ the tray). Also, as a child development expert, I can tell you these chairs are very useful if your baby is behind on motor development, it supports the spine in a way that makes it easier to support their own head and can quickly strengthen back muscles when used regularly. My daughter, whose muscles were highly developed, sat in it twice at 4 months old and was suddenly sitting with very little support at play time. Within a week she could sit by herself with only the occasional topple from leg kicks. We continued to use it until she was 6 mos and trying to crawl out. Hoping to sell it for $15 online, no money lost!
    Really, I think that finding things used then reselling them when you’re done is key to the more convenience items that you might want around. Local kids resale shops are my favorite place to go!

  95. My son LOVES the Baby Einstein Videos. We bought a couple of CD’s for him to listen to when he goes to sleep. This CD is by far the one that puts him down. We joke that it is the soundtrack to our life right now!

    True all the music is played in a more musicbox style, but I think it is more pleasing to a baby’s ears. I’m a piano teacher and my son really did not like to hear the piano when he was younger. He’s now 13 months and he does like it, but it did not start that way.

    I also like the arrangements. They feature the main theme of the piece and then move on to a new song. Just right for a little one’s attention span (at least my litle one’s attention span).

    This is in no way “serious” classical music, and if that is what you want for your child, don’t buy it, you will be disappointed. It is, however, very musical, and interesting. For someone who is looking for pretty music that is calming and soothing, this is great!

  96. I just wanted to add something to the list of “nice-to-haves”… The Eddie Bauer (or anyone really) Travel Bed. It’s a small, portable (duh) “bed” for newborns, and is great if the family has to take baby on a trip and can’t take the giant playpen/bassinet with them. In addition, in a house with multiple floors, it’s a perfect portable changing station, just make sure to keep some waterproof pads handy for it. :)

  97. This is a great list!
    I do disagree on the Bumbo seat and the walker.

    I had both a walker and the jumperoo thing. She would grow restless on the jumperoo quickly. She loved her walker. She used it a lot! Plus it helped her gain more confidence in taking steps and walking.

    The bumbo seat, she still uses it, at 19 months. It’s great for restaurants, especially when we sit in a booth. You could just sit your kid in the bumbo next to you on the bench. My toddler does well in it, and it’s better than sitting on the restaurant’s high chair. Many times they don’t wipe those things.

    • I hear you about restaurant high chairs being gross. I could see how the Bumbo seat works better than a booster seat in a booth. I’m always worried my kid will slide off the booster and slam his chin on the table. It’s good both kids are getting too big for the booster seat.

  98. This list is perfect! I agree on the safety, spend the money on the convertible carseat! I have really big babies and they were out of those infant buckets by 3 months. If you have more then one kiddo, I think a baby bjorn, or any front carrier is a must. My suggestion is to ALWAYS go gender neutral on gear. I have a friend who bought a cheetah print carseat for her daughter, and her son looked a little silly in it. I have a big group of friends, and we passed our gear from house to house as babies came. The big stuff (exersaucer, jumperoo, swing, stuff like that) BORROW, my oldest loved the swing, my middle hated it, and the youngest, well it seem like he was running at 2 months, so he was never in it. The bottom line is, if you are a first time mommy, ask your friends who have had kids. If you are the first to have kids, use the mom bloggers. DON’T ask the store, they will think you need everything!! Babies don’t care if they are in a million dollar stroller, or a $50 stroller.

  99. One more thing, if containment is a thought, skip the play yard and go gated play yard. I got one at babies r us for $69, it folds to the size of a standard gate, is totally portable, and it works for pets as well as kiddos. I would say this was my best purchase, we do call it baby jail, but it fits in my bathroom, so I can shower. That is my only addition!!

    • I think a safe, gated area is a lot better for a baby than the confinement of a playard. Many of the daycare providers I’ve known do that in their home. They gate an area for the babies, away from the running arounds of the older kids and it seems to work great.

  100. something I found pretty useless was the baby bath tubs… we only used our for about 5 month before he could sit up and be in the big tub… before that we could have just washed him in the sink … we just got a simple little tub for him.. but some of the other ones they have out there are ridiculus why does a baby need to have a jacuzi tub or a shower sprayer

  101. I agree with your list for the most part. When I had my first son (about 2 1/2 years ago) there was an article about sterilizing bottles that stated it was completely unnecessary and that simple washing with soap and water was enough. My son was a month early and I didn’t have time to complete my shopping spree before he came, thank God! The pack n play has been a must item for us. It was my eldest’s bassinet and now for my 5-month old its a safety net. I also use an exersaucer. I really don’t understand wipe warmers, what do you do when you are away from home? I never used a sling or carrier since I am a plus size mommy but my 5 month old is already 20lbs so I have given the Moby a try and love it! As for strollers I tell all my expecting friends to go to one of the big baby stores and try every stroller there. Fold it, unfold it, lift it, put the seat in it, and definitely play with the buckles. I did this and ended up with a Chicco, slightly more expensive than a Graco but I love it. I actually have the double now and I’m very thankful for it. For swings, bouncers, even bathtubs find a good childrens resale store. A good one checks for recalls. I personally like the travel swings, they don’t take as much space, are cheaper, and fold up. For formula generic is great. I use Sam’s brand such an amazing value. I’m just now getting on the generic diaper bandwagon. With my first huggies worked wonders and didn’t leak, I didn’t want to mess with a good thing but I read some great reviews on the Target brand and have given them a try… so far so good.

  102. I agree with almost everything you mentioned, except the fancy stroller. My stroller is a less popular expensive brand but I love, love, love it. I got the Inglesina Zippy when my daughter was born in 2007. She is 4.5 and was still using it up until 2 months ago when her baby brother was born…now she helps push it. I did get it for a good deal (Well my parents did). I don’t know many people who bought an inexpensive stroller that they were able to use for 4 years of hardcore use for one child. I can push it one handed and hold my daughter’s hand, it takes up very little space and just rocks. True one hand fold – if you can open and close it with your child in your arms it can be a lifesaver. Plus it came with all the accessories you could want – a rain cover (which I never used) a snack tray, belly bar, car seat hook, etc. It is definitely an underrated stroller. My biggest con with it? It has spoiled me so much that I’ve had difficulty finding a double stroller that will meet my now high expectations.

    Wipes warmer, diaper stacker, bottle sterilizer all useless. I sterilize regularly by boiling water in a pan. Works like a charm.


  103. Great discussion here! A lot depends on your lifestyle – the layout of your home, how many kids/animals you already have, etc. I have a 3.5 yr old and now a 3-month old. I did without a wipes warmer, exersaucer, bouncy seat, videos, etc. That said, I did have the BeBePod Plus (like a Bumpo,but it comes w/a tray) that we used to feed her when she was little when the high chair still seemed too big. She also really liked playing with the toy that was on the tray. My feeling was, she wasn’t being entertained with all of those others things – just the activity gym, the BeBePod, and a collapsible travel swing. We only bought a playard when we started sharing a nanny with another couple and needed somewhere for the other baby to nap while at our house. I use Target diapers and WalMart’s organic formula, but… I do have a very expensive stroller. It was my Mom’s baby gift to us and I still love it. When each of my daughters was little, we used the bassinet attachment to the stroller as their bed and would have it in our room at night and then we could just wheel it around our apartment throughout the day. We live in a big city (Chicago) and the expensive strollers are much better on “urban terrain”. What’s also nice is that our stroller can collapse the back wheels so it transforms into a sort of handtruck to take it up and down stairs (with child still in it) – a very nice option when your apartment is on the 2nd floor! Totally agree on the cloth diapers as burp cloths – you can pretty them up by decorating them with fabric paint. As an aside – funniest thing I ever saw on a registry? A travel wipes warmer. I can’t believe they even make one!

    • I like your handtruck option on the stroller, since stairs, especially the ones with just a few steps you can run into when out and about, are quite an inconvenience. I can understand the travel wipe warmer though. If you get your baby used to warm wipes all the time, you need one of those for when you’re out of the house!

  104. My daughter was a preemie, so we have some major exceptions here. We didn’t use a bottle sterilizer because I didn’t think it’d get her bottles clean enough. So we boiled all her glass bottles, parts, & pacifiers after every use on the stove in a pot after washing them in hot soapy water. Preemies can get sick a lot easier than termies, so we had to be careful.

    Wipe warmer – we didn’t start out with this. I had my husband run out to get one because she screamed every time we touched her bottom with even a hand warmed wipe. She would lose body heat easily, and it being winter in the midwest, we had to make sure she was warm.

    We do not have a crib with moving parts, but I think older ones that have metal poles that the rails slide up and down on are safe, my mom has one at her house for the grandbabies (from about 1984), and I think it’s completely safe. Plastic parts = no good.

    Bumper- I could take it or leave it. We had one, but our daughter didn’t start rolling over until she could pull herself up, so it didn’t really serve any purpose except to look cute.

    Play yard-our daughter slept in the play yard with the raised bassinet part, next to our bed for the first several months, and we use it when we stay with family (vs. having her sleep on the floor or in bed with us), or stay in hotels(vs using the hotel crib that who knows how many babies have used it, or if it’s recalled, etc). So it has gotten plenty of use to justify buying it.

    Fancy brand diapers – we have used lots of different brands at different times, just because as she grows, her body changes, and ones that used to fit perfectly now leak every time. We started out with Pampers swaddlers, preemie size. I don’t think store brands really make preemie size. The NICU used Pampers so that’s what we stuck with for awhile. We’ve used Babies R Us brand (the tabs ripped right off), and Sam’s brand seemed to work for awhile, but those tabs started ripping off too, then Target brand worked great for awhile, but started leaking. Now we buy the big box of Huggies at Sam’s.

    Brand name formula – I did breast feed, but she needed 2 bottles of Similac Neosure a day to help her get the extra nutrients she should have gotten from me had she been born full term. Plus it has extra calories to help her gain weight. I wouldn’t have otherwise given her formula, but it was a medical necessity. And there is no store brand formula made for preemies. And the Neosure is more expensive than the regular name brand formula. Luckily, we found some at a scratch & dent store for 1/2 price, so we stocked up!

    Sling – I did use one, but mostly around the house. I’d put her in it & vacuum, & she’d go right to sleep. I could have gotten by without it though.

    Bumbo-had one, barely used it.

    Designer stroller – I always get stroller basket envy. I have a Chicco & like it just fine, but the basket needs to be bigger. But that could be accomplished with a non designer stroller. But I’ll just keep the Chicco.

    Baby videos-we don’t have any, but I’ve been thinking about getting the videos of a show that is on Saturday mornings, called Signing Time. My daughter is now 20 months, and even though she can speak very well, we sign with her, and she learns at least 1 new sign by watching this show.

    I have to put in my 2 cents about expensive diaper cream. Triple Paste is WAY better than desitin. My daughter had thrush because of the antibiotics in the NICU for her infection. This led to a yeast infection and really bad broken skin diaper rash. We put Nystatin cream on her bottom for the yeast infection, and topped it off with Triple Paste. It’s nice & thick & can heal a sore bottom overnight. We’ve been fighting diaper rash her whole life it seems, and Triple Paste seems to take care of it, even though it’s like $30 for a tub of it.

    About the receiving blankets – they were a little big for my daughter. We would swaddle her in 2 of them, then put a fleece swaddle wrap around that, with a hat on her head at all times the first 2 months she was home. And all that kept her at the correct body temperature, which we had to check every few hours when she first came home. We could not have done without her swaddle wraps!

  105. I used to have a high chair for my kids, which was for triple uses: as a high chair, as a desk and a swing. Now I need it for my grandkids, but I can’t find it anywhere. Does somebody know where I can find it?

  106. Wish I have something like this when my son was small so I didn’t have to make so many “buy this, buy that,” mistakes. I even got stuff I never used cause they were impractical. Oh, well, we learn from our mistakes, right? Thanks for sharing this.

    • As new parents, we feel pressured to buy the latest and greatest baby gear and gadgets, when we really need the basic items. And I think the pressure goes on after our kids grow up to keep up with the Joneses. Sign up for the best preschools, schools, sports, music, and tons of other extra-curriculum activities. It’s good to stay grounded and do what we feel is right for our children. No less, no more.

  107. In case, you are buying from Amazon, try finding the best product based on the users’ reviews!

  108. Everything except the bottle sterilizer & the expensive stroller I wish I had or bought second hand. Wipes warmer yes because I live in Michigan

  109. First of all, you have a nice blog name, i.e., “perfecting motherhood”! And thank you for warning us from purchasing these products.

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