Jan 25
· Written By
Lindsay Meisel

Don't buy these much-recommended baby items

Baby gear falls into four categories: 

  1. Essential
  2. Not essential, but very helpful
  3. Helpful, but for such a short amount of time it’s borderline not worth it
  4. Not necessary

The trouble is, it’s hard to know in advance which items fall into which category, and the breakdown is different for everyone, depending on your lifestyle and your baby’s temperament. And you don’t need to know in advance: new parents often feel like there’s this huge rush to acquire every possible item you might need before the baby comes, but this is mistaken! It’s better to buy the essentials, and then, once the baby comes, wait for a need to arise before you fulfill it. 

I can share from my own experience the items I found to be total wastes of money. I’m not saying don’t buy these things, I’m just saying wait to see if you want them once the baby is here. Here goes:

  • Toys: And I mean any toys of any kind at all ever. Seriously. When my two boys were babies they were way more interested in random crap you have lying around the house (see here) than any toys we had (and at 2 and 4, that’s still true!). As my kids got older, toys magically found their way into my house and now I constantly throw toys away but there are somehow always more. Don’t make it worse. Don’t buy toys. (And don’t sign up for expensive shit you don’t need like Lovevery!) 
  • Online sleep courses like Taking Cara Babies (you can find all the same information in a variety of baby sleep books that you can borrow from the library)
  • Rocker/glider chair for breastfeeding: These appear on every newborn essentials list and I do not understand why. I breastfed in bed, on the couch, or even sometimes on the floor. Breastfeeding is a very normal activity and you don’t need a special chair to do it in. 
  • Changing table: If you have a dresser, you can just stick a changing pad on top. 
  • Breastfeeding pillows: I know people love these but I just found them annoying. It was a very brief period of time that I needed to prop up my baby during breastfeeding and during that time 
  • Bottle warmer: My boys were both happy to drink milk cold from the fridge when they were babies. Not all babies are like this, but you might as well find out if yours is before you buy something (plus, it’s not hard to warm milk without a bottle warmer)
  • Swaddling blankets: There are velcro swaddles now so there’s no need to learn how to swaddle the traditional way. 
  • Baby shoes: these will just fall off. Don’t buy shoes until your baby can walk; stick with booties or socks (which will also fall off, but at least it’s one less thing!)
  • Bottle sterilizer: Unless you have a baby with special medical needs, your dishwasher or even hand washing is fine. 
  • Blankets: These are not recommended for safe sleep—most people put their babies to bed in a sleep sack or just pajamas. You won’t need blankets until you transition your baby into a real bed, which won’t be for another couple of years at least.
  • Any clothes that are hard to put on or that you have to fully remove in order to change a diaper (like baby overalls … why do these even exist?) 

Bonus items that were essential for me but other parents in the Oath community said they didn’t use:

  • Infant bucket car seat. Some people like the convenience of snapping the infant seat into the stroller. But actually many (not all) convertible car seats can accommodate babies from birth often with a special insert that comes with the seat. And some babies detest the infant seats and are much happier in the car once they graduate to the convertible. And you save money not having to buy two different car seats.
  • Nose Frida. I still use this on my 2 and 4 year olds, but it grosses some people out. The hospital usually sends you home with a free infant nasal aspirator, but I found the Nose Frida much easier to use. 
  • Bassinet attachment for stroller: we used this as the main sleeping area for my second son for the first few months, but I agree that it wouldn’t have been essential otherwise. 
Lindsay Meisel
Lindsay Meisel

Lindsay is a mom of 2, writer, and leads Content & Community at Oath Care. She has been supporting mothers for the last 7 years through her work. As she puts it "The normal newborn experience truly shocked me: the lack of sleep, the trouble with breastfeeding, the pumping, just … everything. I’ve always thought of myself as an independent person who likes to do things on my own. But in the weeks and months after giving birth, I found myself longing to live as a tribe with other families."