I’m a planner – I like to make lists, write down my goals, keep track of my budget, etc. So even before I was pregnant, I had a document on Google Drive called “Things Needed for Baby.”
I had it categorized into sections including “Clothing”, “Bath”, “Sleep”, etc. Next to each item I had an estimated cost, and I regularly updated it when I heard about a new “must-have” baby item.
When I got pregnant with my son, I pulled out the list and started checking things off as I purchased them.
We stuck to our budget almost to the dollar, but there were a few items we purchased that I think were a waste of money and some things on my list that I’m glad we didn’t purchase because it turns out we didn’t need them.
5 Common Baby Items You Don’t Need (And What You Should Get Instead)
1. Changing Table
A changing table is often viewed as a must-have baby item – go to any baby store and a big, wooden changing table is always part of the beautiful nursery displays.
One of the main reasons I decided to forgo a changing table for my son was because the room we decided to use as his nursery is pretty small and once we’d set up his crib, chest of drawers and rocking chair, there was no room for a changing table.
And honestly, we didn’t need one.
Instead, we bought a contoured changing pad that we keep in the living room which is where the majority of his diaper changes occur. Next to the changing pad we have a small fabric tote that houses a few diapers, a packet of wipes, and a tube of diaper rash cream.
I haven’t once felt like I was missing out by not having a changing table!
When I was researching baby bathtubs, I read so much about a fancy, expensive baby bathtub that I eventually caved in and bought one. And it was one of the biggest wastes of money.
First, it didn’t even fit properly in my sink. Second, it barely held any water. Third, it was just annoying. And worst of all, my son hated it.
So what did I do? I went out and bought another fancy bathtub, with bumps and grooves that are meant to hold your baby in place. My son HATED it even more than the first one. Another waste of money.
Finally, I found the perfect solution, and it cost around $10! This inflatable, rubber ducky bathtub is lightweight, adorable, soft, has a white-hot safety disc, deflates and folds up easily for travel… I love it, my son loves it, and I wish I’d found it sooner!
There are so many gorgeous bassinets out there that it can become very tempting to buy one for your little bundle. We avoided the temptation and I’m glad we did.
Your baby will grow out of a bassinet so quickly, and it’ll end up being just another item you need to get rid of or find a place to store.
Instead of a bassinet, there are two things I recommend – a Rock n’ Play and a Pack N’ Play.
Parents rave about the Fisher Price Deluxe Soothe ‘n Play, and for good reason – babies love it. For a couple of months, it was the only thing my son slept in (I think the slight incline helped with his reflux) and even at 6 months of age he still loved napping in it.
A Pack n’ Play is a great option because it’s dual purpose – baby can sleep in it and it can be used as a playpen. We chose the Nuna Sena.
It’s not the cheapest pack n’ play on the market, but we decided it was worth it due to the fact that it’s Oeko-Tex certified fabric, made with a skin-friendly pH, and free of flame retardants and other harmful substances and pesticides.
I love the Nuna Sena and think it absolutely worth the price – find out more about it here.
4. Fancy Outfits
Fancy baby outfits are adorable, but most of them aren’t the least bit practical – they’re uncomfortable for baby and annoying for whoever is trying to do diaper changes.
These are the four most important questions you should be asking yourself when you are buying baby clothes:
- Is it appropriate for the season?
- Is it comfortable?
- Is it easy to wash?
- Is it easy to put on?
Obviously, you’ll want your baby to look cute, and you can definitely find adorable outfits that also meet all of the above requirements. But try to forgo the urge to buy lots of unnecessarily complicated and uncomfortable baby clothes, regardless of how cute they look.
I can pretty much guarantee you that they will get relegated to the back of the closet after one wear (when you realize how irritating they are.)
We received a packet of these Gerber Kimono Shirts as a gift from a friend and we loved them so much that we bought three more packets. I think they’re the best shirts for newborns for these reasons:
- They don’t rub against the umbilical cord stump
- You don’t have to try and get them over baby’s head
- They have in-built mitten cuffs to stop baby from scratching himself/herself
I recommend you buy a few packets of Gerber Kimono shirts and some stretchy leggings. And if you’re still intent on buying some fancy outfits, wait until after your baby shower – you’ll probably receive plenty!
As cute as that little pair of high-top Nike’s or leather Sperry’s might be, resist the urge. Babies don’t need shoes.
Most baby shoes impossible to get on (especially if your baby has chubby feet like mine!). And there’s a good chance that you’ll arrive home after a day out with only one shoe after baby has kicked it off somewhere without you noticing.
Baby shoes can run anywhere from $8 – $50 or more. That’s a lot of money to spend on something that your baby doesn’t need. (And will grow out of in weeks!)
The good news is, there are tons of adorable socks that are just as cute as baby shoes. These cute animal socks will keep little toes warm, and they’re just as cute as shoes.
Now, having said all of this, there is one “non-essential” baby item that I absolutely swear by – The Baby Merlin’s Magic Sleepsuit.
It is the number one thing I credit for my son sleeping 12 glorious hours every night from 6 months of age. And from about 10 weeks, he was sleeping for 8 hours straight (after having terrible colic.)
So while this is technically a non-essential baby item, it’s what I credit for my son actually sleeping every night, so it quickly became an essential for us. Here’s the link to buy your own sleep suit (trust me, you’re going to have one!)
The costs associated with having a baby can definitely add up quickly. Try to avoid falling into the trap of buying every outfit, gadget and “must-have” baby item you hear about. Think about whether it’s something baby really needs.
As long as baby has somewhere safe and warm to sleep, food in his belly, warm clothes, and people who love him, then everything else is secondary. ♥