Useless Baby Gear: Baby Shower Gifts You Should Not Buy
1. DIAPER GENIE / DIAPER CHAMP
Sounds like a great idea, doesn't it? A garbage can for diapers that promises no smell, ever. Perfect.
Except it doesn't work. Oh, it will for the first few months, when diapers don't really smell anyway. But six months later, when the packaging is long gone and so is your receipt, you'll realize that POOPIE DIAPERS SMELL NO MATTER WHAT YOU PUT THEM IN.
That is the truth, friends. I don't care what you put that diaper in, after a few hours the smell has permeated the room. And every single parent I know has come to this conclusion: the garbage has to be emptied at least once a day.
Once you're doing that, why by the expensive inserts for the diaper genie? What a waste of money! But what's the alternative, you ask? Do what every parent I know does - zip them into a sandwich-sized zip lock and put them into the garbage can you use the most. In my case, it's the kitchen trash. You empty that can before the smell gets a chance to escape. For under $2 for 100 store-brand zip locks, it's a cost-effective, simple, portable solution.
2. BABY PAPSAN
I found it irresistible. A miniature papasan chair, just like the one I had in college. It was so comfy! The perfect place to curl up and read.... I knew my baby would love it just as much as I did.
Nope. The truth is that it offers no support to a tiny person who cannot support herself. I watched helplessly as my baby slid down, ultimately slumped at the bottom edge, barely staying in the chair. And then the crying would begin, because it was uncomfortable, and because she was practically lying down - which was where she didn't want to be to begin with.
I tried using rolled up towels to prop up her bottom. I tried tilting it (unsafely, i might add) from underneath so that she wouldn't slide. I tried propping pillows underneath it to try to hold her up. Nothing worked, and I put it away in the attic. I thought it was just my baby, and I saved it for my soon-to-be-born second child.
But exactly the same thing happened with my next daughter! Then I started asking around - and realized that the same thing happened to everyone else's baby too! I tossed it in a dumpster and kept using my regular old bouncy seat. I suggest you skip the aggravation and just start there.
3. WIPES WARMER
Seriously, what parent doesn't think their baby's precious little tushie deserves a warm wipe? Especially in the middle of the night. I sure thought it would be the best thing ever.
I liked it at first. Warm wipes were an easy luxury I could give to my daughter, and my warmer seemed to work perfectly
Then I realized that the wipes were drying out before I could use a whole package's worth. So I had to put fewer in the warmer at a time. Then I realized with fewer wipes in the warmer, the wipes actually got too warm and started burning and sticking to each other - actually getting golden brown around the edges! Then I noticed that there was a little "pad" I could saturate with water to keep the wipes moist, but I had to remember to remoisten it every day because it dried itself out in 24 hours. Then once I forgot a day and the pad got crispy I had to get to the store to buy a replacement pad before I could use the warmer again. Then I realized the great deal on wipes I could get at my big-box discount store - but the stack of wipes from the package was too tall to fit in the warmer - so I had to repackage half of the stack in zip-lock bags to store them until the wipes warmer was empty again...
it was right around this time when I noticed that when we weren't home and I used a wipe from the travel package in our diaper bag, my daughter didn't seem to care that it was a bit colder than the ones from the warmer. I did a trial run for a few days before I had the courage to get rid of the wipes warmer for good, but my girl never, ever noticed that it was gone. The whole thing was a big waste of time, money and energy.
Buy this instead:
4. BABY BATHTUB
Maybe because I'm not a spring chicken, maybe because the thought of a slippery baby in the bathtub around all those faucets and hard sufaces terrifies me, maybe because my bathroom was so small... I'm not sure, but I never gave and of my babies a baby bath in the bathtub.
It was the kitchen sink for me. I didn't have to bend over, I could always reach my baby, she couldn't slip away from me (or worse yet, slip underwater), and I had lots of counterspace to put all the supplies I needed so I never had to even look away for one second. She took her bath every day in the kitchen sink until she was two and a half years old.
All right, I'm a bit neurotic when it comes to water and my baby. But seriously, what would you do with that silly tub anyway? I got two of them as baby shower gifts - I had nowhere to store them! They didn't fit anywhere in my bathroom, they were too big for my linen closet, and I certainly didn't want them anywhere else in the house. And when they are wet they drip, no matter how carefully you try to dry them.
Don't bother. Either use your kitchen sink, or put your baby in a few inches of water in your tub and use a towel or mat underneath them so they don't slip away. So much easier!
Buy this instead:
5. BABY CLOTHES
Controversial? I don't think so.
Start here: all of my babies were born wearing 0-3 months, so everything people gave me in "Newborn" sizes was a waste. I tried to make all the returns later, but it wasn't on the top of my list of things to do after I brought the baby home.
Each of my babies wore that size for exactly the precribed three months. But in those three months there was really no opportunity to wear all the tiny clothes they were given, especially the dressy things. They wore sleepers and playclothes, and that was about it. Dressy outfits? One for a picture. The rest were unworn.
By the time my first was six months old she was ready for the size 6-9 months. But she was born in the summer, and so the few people who had thoughtfully tried to buy something useful for the future had bought what was in the store when she was born - summer clothes. But now it was January. By late March she had outgrown the size, but it was still cold out. More things left with the tags on, never worn.
End game: baby clothes are cute, but it's hard to really know what will be needed, what size the baby will need and when, and to figure out the appropriate season/size combination. If you really feel you would like to give clothing, I suggest a giftcard. Mom can go buy what baby needs, when baby needs it - no returns, no hassles, and clothes Mom really likes and needs!
Want to know what the BEST gifts are?
Check out my Hub Indespensible Baby Gear: The Best Five Baby Shower Gifts Ever.
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