When I was pregnant, I spent countless hours online, looking at lists of things that I needed to buy before I had the baby. Then I dragged David along on countless trips to baby stores, buying said baby gear. I think they call it “nesting” and I nested like a champion. I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one.
One of my close friends is pregnant right now, and she’s starting the process of buying baby gear. She asked me what things you think you need but don’t actually end up using. So this list is for her. And any other nesters.
1. Baby Nail Files. OK, first let me be very clear: do not attempt to cut your newborn’s fingernails with a nail clipper! When Addie was a newborn, a friend who’s an ER doctor told me that she frequently sees babies who had the tops of their fingers cut off with nail clippers. Not good. But at the same time, you don’t need to buy special baby nail files. I’m sure you have an emory board lying around. Just use that. Babies seem impossibly fragile when you bring them home from the hospital, but they’re actually pretty hardy. They don’t need special baby nail files.
2. Baby Shoes. I know, I know, they’re freaking adorable. But seriously? Your newborn baby doesn’t need shoes. For one thing, I don’t know if anyone mentioned this, but the baby is not going to be ambulatory for at least nine months. Also, shoes get in the way when baby should be spending as much time as possible snuggled up right against your body. But don’t worry. Even if you don’t buy any yourself or even register for them, you’re sure to get at least three pairs as gifts. (People can’t resist.) So when you just have to take a picture of your newborn in shoes, you’ll have some. Just don’t bother buying any yourself.
3. Disposable Changing Pads. I think these are really weird. Granted, we use cloth diapers, so we’re definitely on the “avoid disposable items” end of the spectrum. But still. Most diaper bags come with a changing pad that you can easily clean. Why on earth you would need one-time-use, disposable changing pads is beyond me. What a waste!
4. Bedding Set. Fancy baby stores sell bedding in these sets that come with sheets, quilts, bumpers, bed skirts and probably other stuff I can’t even remember because we never once used it. First of all, bumpers can increase the risk of SIDS and are even illegal in some places. So hey, don’t buy them! Also, babies shouldn’t use blankets for at least a year because of SIDS risks. And when they do want a blanket, you’re going to want a nice soft, comfy one, not some fancy quilt that came with the bedding set. And finally, the really cute sheets are often not that soft. We ended up buying super soft, velvety sheets that Adeline likes much, much better than the original ones. At this point, the only thing we’re using from our bedding set is the bed skirt. It was all really cute, but it was a waste of money.
5. Pacifier. I know this will be a controversial one, but I urge new parents to avoid the pacifier if possible. We never used one with Adeline, and I’m really happy about that. Most importantly, pacifier use can interfere with breastfeeding, and as we all know, breast is best. And pacifiers can be used as a crutch when what baby really needs is just some loving “pacifying” from mama or papa – you know, some holding, swaying or yes, nursing. Finally, prolonged pacifier use can cause teeth problems. And do you really want to be the parent with a two-year-old still sucking on a pacifier? Better to just avoid it in the first place and not have to worry about breaking that habit later.
So there you have it – my top five baby items that you don’t really need. Parents, what else would you add? What products never made it out of the package or never really got used?