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3 Baby Items You Don't Need - Read Before Buying!

Updated on April 21, 2011

Having a baby is a most joyful experience, and also an expensive one. One way to cut unnecessary spending is to evaluate whether you really need to purchase all those special items you've been told you have to get.

The baby industry is huge. They have created a very effective sales campaign which involves creating false needs. This is the oldest trick in the book, and it works really well on new parents.

Parenthood can make the most confident person waver in his or her decisions, it can turn the most assured and decisive body into a real wishy-washy waffler. It's natural to suddenly feel quite vulnerable and rather nervous as one realizes he or she is now responsible for a brand new human life.

Marketing groups have sniffed this out and taken full advantage, launching cutesy campaigns that are kind of like a passive-agressive way of saying: "If you don't buy all this stuff for your kid, you're not a very good parent."

Truthfully, you may find that you don't have a need for some of those supposedly essential items. Simplifying. It's a very good thing.

Moses baskets are a great alternative to the basinette - and they are much more mobile!

1. The Bassinet

It is often one of the first things you'll be told you need. "Oh, you have to have a little basinet!"

Not necessarily. First, your baby will likely be sleeping with you or in the crib for the first several months of life. If the baby isn't sleeping in one of those two places, he'll likely be in the carseat. Why purchase a bulky, expensive bassinet you probably won't get much use out of?

On a more serious note, basinets have time and again been linked to infant mortality since parents often mistake them as being as safe as a crib, leaving sleeping babies unattended in them. The truth is, basinets - especially the self-rocking models - carry a significant smothering risk.

Of course, many many babies sleep snug and safe in basinets every day. If you do get one, do a bit of research to ensure that you're getting a quality product with lots of good reviews.

Choose a changing table that will still be useful after the first weeks..

2. The Changing Table

Ah, the changing table. Another item you've doubtless heard much ado about. "Which changing table will you buy? The Cherry or the Oak?" As if you have no choice but to obtain one lest your membership to Club Goodparent be revoked. Unless you are getting a changing table that also doubles as a dresser or other useful item, you may want to pass. Purchasing an additional bulky (not to mention costly) piece of furniture doesn't make a lot of sense in most cases.

A changing table is one of those things that may get a lot of use during the first several weeks of new-babydom, but probably not so much after that.

The fact is that you will probably change your baby elsewhere most of the time anyway. You may think now, in your pre-baby utopian visions, that you'll never change your child on a couch or the (gasp!) floor. I'm willing to bet, however, that you will.

Another important factor in the Great Changing Table Debate: it doesn't take babies very long to figure out how to wiggle and roll. A wiggly, roll-y child does not fare well when placed atop a platform high above the floor.

Another problem with changing tables
Another problem with changing tables

3. The Walker

You may have heard a bit of the Great Walker Debate. Do walkers help or hinder a fledgling bi-ped?

The truth is that it is better for an infant to learn to develop those leg muscles on his or her own. The walker isn't going to substantially slow down your child's development, but it is yet another potential waste of money. It also has a high risk factor for accidents.

Walkers don't provide any respite for a parent, as they enable baby to cruise around more quickly - in a split second, junior could be out the door, down the stairs, or otherwise out of sight and in to danger.

When an infant is in the crawling stage, let him crawl! Once he is pulling himself up with help, he's well on the road to walking and certainly doesn't need any further aids - especially at the risk of getting injured!

It's Only Stuff

Of course you want the very best of everything for your baby. Don't buy in to the belief that more stuff = more love. You'll find that baby's favorite playthings are often simple household items and not the things you spent so much money on in hopes of stimulating your little prodigy's development.

If you have already registered for some of these items, and don't think you'll end up using them - bask in the glory that is the Returns Department. There are plenty of useful things you can spend that money on - believe me.

Always look up product reviews on any item you plan to use with your baby.

Most of all, savor every moment with your sweet little bundle - it goes by quickly and the stuff will be forgotten all too soon, anyway.


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    • ameliejan profile image

      ameliejan 6 years ago from Alicante, Spain

      Great hub, I don't even really know what a bassinet is - they don't really use them in Europe. I don't have a changing table either. Debating whether or not to get a walker.

    • andrebreynolds profile image

      andrebreynolds 6 years ago

      Thanks for great information, Thanks for sharing this hub.

    • profile image

      moses basket stand 6 years ago

      I agree that a bassinet isn't a neccessity but I think it does provide some convenience. Bassinets can be purchased for under $100 and can be placed close to mom for those nightly feedings. I don't want to start co-sleeping since I know too many people who can't stop it once they start it. A bassinet provides the next best alternative.

    • lovelyascanbe profile image

      lovelyascanbe 7 years ago from perth Australia

      hie roobee... great hub....

      i brought up my daughter for the 1st 2yrs of her life in africa and believe you me....u dont need alot of the things advocated in the west..... diapers... breastmilk ...and plenty of family and friends is all u need...... !!

    • Alayne Fenasci profile image

      Alayne Fenasci 7 years ago from Louisiana

      I loved this hub! I also discovered many of the "essentials" just take up space for me after my baby arrived. I'm tempted to make a hub of my own along the same line.

    • RooBee profile image

      RooBee 7 years ago from Here

      DrPPoorluk, thanks for reading! I think most parents have purchased at least one unnecessary baby item!! Now that I have 2, I am seriously starting to consider the leashes...:)

      OTMommy - Thank you so much for your insightful comments. It's great to have your expert advice!

      Thanks a million coggster - we parents may, in fact, be doomed to endlessly purchase seldom or never used items. :)

      Thank you Smurf! I only wish the article had been helpful before you bought the stuff. :) I appreciate your comments!!

      Shady Sally, thanks so much for reading and commenting. Often, readers create a dialogue in the comments section that is much more engaging than the hub itself. It's very cool! :)

      Beaks, thank you for your comments and input. I'm sure many people agree with you and I think each parent will have particular preferences when it comes to these kind of things. I hadn't even thought about back pain when addressing the necessity of a changing table, so I'm really glad you brought it up!

    • profile image

      Beaks 7 years ago from USA

      I tried to get by without a changing table, and it absolutely killed my back. I was in pain every day from stooping and trying to change the baby on many different surfaces. The next time, I made sure to get a changing table no matter what. That was one of the best, most useful purchases I ever made, besides the stroller/car seat combo. I'd rather have a changing table than a crib, even.

    • Shady Sally profile image

      Shady Sally 7 years ago from MidAmerica

      Good Advice from your column and from the comments! It is so easy to get 'convinced' we need so much stuff!!!

    • smurf3567 profile image

      smurf3567 8 years ago

      You are absolutely right about these things. The only thing I had that was on this list was a changing table someone had given me and I used to hold baby clothes in the living room in case we had an accident.

    • coggster profile image

      coggster 8 years ago

      Great Hub, I wish I read it before our first child. To think of all the money I wasted on 'baby necessities' that never got used. Although, now our child is almost 3 and I am still wasting money on things that only get used once or twice. Hopefully one day I will learn. Great Hub and I hope all new parents and parents to be come by to read it.

    • OTmommy profile image

      OTmommy 8 years ago from Southern USA

      Good hub! I agree that babies don't need to use walkers. As a pediatric therapist working with kids with developmental delays, one of the first suggestions I give is to quit putting the baby in the walker! Not only do they hinder using the correct muscles for balance, they pose a danger risk. Although I do use my changing table when we are upstairs & I did use a bassinette for my 1st baby who was born early, I agree that we are sucked into thinking we need all of these devices for babies that aren't really necessary. Is a baby wipe warmer really necessary?

    • DrPPoorluk profile image

      DrPPoorluk 8 years ago from NH

      It's funny what you'll buy due to trends! I've bought a ton of stuff I didn't need (nor the baby for that matter), But I could never bring myself to buying the baby backpack. Or the toddler leash. Nice hub RooBee!

    • RooBee profile image

      RooBee 8 years ago from Here

      Thanks GenH, take care. :)

    • GeneralHowitzer profile image

      Gener Geminiano 8 years ago from Land of Salt, Philippines

      Cool hubs, thanks for the comment it is really engaging, take care... looking forward reading your hubs... i'm busy for now hehehe... hope you'll read my new hub soon titled Ways to Improve Your Memory.

    • RooBee profile image

      RooBee 8 years ago from Here

      Nicole Winter, so sorry - I missed your comment earlier somehow! *hits forehead w/ palm* Thanks for the comment. I, too, was fortunate enough to get a lot of my baby items as shower gifts. Gotta love friends n family! Thanks, again!!! :D

    • RooBee profile image

      RooBee 8 years ago from Here

      Karen, I hear you 100% I've finally begun to streamline after a year of taking a month's worth of supplies everywhere I went with my little one. I tell ya, breastfeeding has been such a stress-reducer from the comfort it gives my son to the ease, convenience, and the whole not costing anything part. Thanks for your comments!

      Ms Chievous- you're spot on w/ the Genie. Took mine back and just use the trash. I have limited space anyway so the whole concept just seemed like something I really didn't need. Thanks very much for reading :D

    • Ms Chievous profile image

      Tina 8 years ago from Wv

      Add diaper Genie to your list.. don't need it.. can dispose of diapers just as well in your normal trash. This is a great hub for first time mothers!

    • Karen Banes profile image

      Karen Banes 8 years ago from Canada

      This is so true. I fussed about getting everything just right for my first child and by the time I was about to give birth to my second one it was more like: Got breasts? Check. Got diapers? Check. Good to go!!!

    • RooBee profile image

      RooBee 8 years ago from Here

      Thank you very much laringo. True, we all do it but at least we can try to be aware of needs vs. wants. Which, as you mentioned, may just become necessary anyway for a lot of folks!

    • laringo profile image

      laringo 8 years ago from From Berkeley, California.

      You have the really practical information here and it is really very true. I think we all have and probably will continue to get swept up by what we see and here around us. Besides that who doesn't want it all, especially for that firstborn. All in all great advice and may bode well in the present state of the economy.

    • Nicole Winter profile image

      Nicole A. Winter 8 years ago from Chicago, IL

      RooBee: The little basket you had for your son is called, (funnily enough,) a moses basket. I never had a bassinet for my daughter, but man did we love her moses basket, scarily enough she slept the first 2-3 months of her life in that thing thankfully without a problem. My friend's have a changing table / dresser and they've twins, so it was very useful for them and has converted into a full-on dresser, now. I think buying furniture and toys with more than one use could be helpful, we never had a changing table, but we had a walker and my daughter loved it! She *loved* it. I would say a good 80% of the stuff we had we got from my baby shower. We bought a really beautiful and well-built crib for my daughter which she learned how to get out of within a couple of months ;) I always found the Diaper Genie's to be a kind of useless item, personally. I mean, how hard is it to just take out the garbage?!? Nice hub, I *love* the picture of your little ones nestled together, too cute!

    • RooBee profile image

      RooBee 8 years ago from Here

      Congrats to your friends and thank you so much for reading mayhmong!

      Hi Laughing Mom, thanks for coming by! I think changing tables are one thing that's debatable but most moms I know echo your sentiments on the DG. Seems like extra work for not much benefit to me, too! :)

    • Laughing Mom profile image

      Laughing Mom 8 years ago

      So true, Roo Bee! Although, I did get my money's worth out of the changing table. Actually, it was a dresser that I put a changing pad on top of so we could use it after the diaper stage. But that's where 90% of the changing went on.

      Now, those Diaper Genie's? I think those are a huge waste. They may have improved them since I had one, but when you have to use two hands to dispose of it, what's the baby doing? A regular trash can works just fine. I just took the dirty ones outside to the trash when I was done.

    • mayhmong profile image

      mayhmong 8 years ago from North Carolina

      Two of my friends are expecting to have their babies together. I will definetely keep these in mind! Thank you! Saves a lot!

    • RooBee profile image

      RooBee 8 years ago from Here

      Terri- thanks for reading & sharing. My playpen, too, was of no use whatsoever. Funny thing is, I was insistent that we get one. I HAD to have it, but it ended up as a catch-all for random objects since my son was seemingly allergic to it. :)

    • Terri Paajanen profile image

      Terri Paajanen 8 years ago from someplace in Canada

      My biggest waste of money was the playpen. Never used it, not even once. My living room was fairly baby-safe, so I just let her roam free.

    • RooBee profile image

      RooBee 8 years ago from Here

      curiozities, I'm so pleased to have provided you with a timely laugh. I hear you about the diaper pail. I took mine back and used the money toward a great rocking chair that we'll use for years to come. We have a similar system for the dirty diaps and it works just fine.

    • curiozities profile image

      curiozities 8 years ago from Florida

      Great article, but I have to disagree on the changing table, as my wife and I have used ours a lot for our baby. But that's probably because we had our baby at a late stage in life (I'm 40-plus and my wife hit 40 during the pregnancy) and using the changing table is easier on our backs. I would agree that a changing table that doubles as something else that's useful (such as a dresser) is probably the better route than just a changing table.

      I have to say I laughed hard at the picture of the baby squirting his mom. I really needed a laugh today, too.

      One other thing: regarding items you don't need, I'd add a fancy diaper pail. My sister-in-law warned us about it and we didn't buy one. She said they're too small and they get filled with dirty diapers too fast, plus they're expnsive. I bought an $8.00 plastic trashcan with a lid you have to remove. I put a plastic liner in it and I also use small, bio-degradable plastic bags for each diaper (so in effect they're double bagged). That system works great for us and it costs less than the fancy diaper pail.

    • RooBee profile image

      RooBee 8 years ago from Here

      RedElf, I am so glad you read - and I appreciate the compliment!! :)

    • RedElf profile image

      RedElf 8 years ago from Canada

      Lots of good info here, RooBee...and so well presented. Thanks

    • RooBee profile image

      RooBee 8 years ago from Here

      Yep, that's exactly what I had and I loved it until about the same time the boy just got too large. :D

    • LondonGirl profile image

      LondonGirl 8 years ago from London

      We had a Moses basket - no stand or rocking bit, it's a long basket with a matress and handles. Very useful, because you can move the baby around with you without waking him up.

      He slept in it until he was about 3 months old, then got too big. We didn't buy it - my sisters, brother and I all slept in it, and my best mate's newborn is probably asleep in it right now!

    • RooBee profile image

      RooBee 8 years ago from Here

      LondonGirl, I had a little basket for my boy when he was tiny (it was a gift from a friend). I'm not sure if it qualifies as a bassinet, but I'm not sure. I think I need to revise a bit, though, because it seems that the major issues are with the 'self-rocking' models. We just use a mat, as well, and also had a walker because it was passed down to us. He mostly used it as a place to eat. :)

      Thanks for coming by.

      Misha, thanks to you. Good point (I love mobility) - I think I need to clarify the bassinet portion as I was telling LondonGirl. My son's crib has been down through all of his cousins, too. :)

    • Misha profile image

      Misha 8 years ago from DC Area

      Great advice Roobee :)

      Absolutely useless changing tables, lets-fix-the-nature-mentality walkers - don't know what sane parents would buy them. Bassinet actually served us very good with both our kids, so I think you are a bit off here. Since it is much more mobile than a crib, we were able to put it in any place in the house, and to the patio (weather permitted of course:)), so babies could have a healthy sleep :)

      May be we are talking different bassinets though, ours was basically a smaller version of a crib, on a light frame with wheels. We passed it on, and I believe three more kids already used it :)

    • LondonGirl profile image

      LondonGirl 8 years ago from London

      I agree with a lot of these, although I'm not sure what a bassinet is, we either don't have them or call them something different - Moses basket, perhaps?

      We had a changing mat, avoided the whole expensive changing table thing. We did have a walker, but didn't buy it - someone gave it to us, and we passed it on. I wouldn't have paid for one.

    • RooBee profile image

      RooBee 8 years ago from Here

      Hey Jim, thanks for sharing. We, too, have to maximize our small space and so try to go for the most useful (and multi- purpose) items possible. Glad you liked it!

      Thanks, Reena. Yeah, those marketing folks are good at that stuff! :) Thanks for coming by & commenting.

    • RooBee profile image

      RooBee 8 years ago from Here

      Hi, Lissie - my son outgrew all of his 'new baby' stuff pretty much immediately, too. I didn't even get to take the tags off half of the tiny stuff.

      Thanks for reading :D

    • Lissie profile image

      Elisabeth Sowerbutts 8 years ago from New Zealand

      I remember my brother being given a very expensive bassinet - and the baby was big - didn't even fit for more than a week or 2!

    • Reena Daruwalla profile image

      Reena Daruwalla 8 years ago from INDIA

      LOL! So agree, there is a lot of 'need creation' which is really the basis of successful marketing. Totally agree; bassinet, changing table, walker, useless. Lots more on my list, cant recall any, with my girls being nearly three and 5 and a half.

    • jim10 profile image

      jim10 8 years ago from ma

      Great list of useless baby items. We have had 3 kids and they all preferred to sleep with us in the beginning. We recently got a bassinet for the latest. But, only because a relative gave it to us to use. Needless to say we never used it. Our son hated that thing. With our first two we never bought a changing table. We were cramped for space we just got the foam pad that keeps them in the center and attached it to our bureau and of course held him the whole time. With our latest my aunt was getting rid of hers so we got it. It is actually great for us for storing all the diaper stuff and for changing him. I would never have paid too much for one though. And for the walker. Nope I would never get one of those it doesn't actually teach them to walk. If anything it probably hinders it.

    • RooBee profile image

      RooBee 8 years ago from Here

      Great tips, KT pdx! I learned the hard way with my son! :) Sounds like you probably have a lot of good advice - and stories - having been in that line of work!!

      Thanks so much for reading and sharing.

    • KT pdx profile image

      KT pdx 8 years ago from Vancouver, WA, USA

      Freecycle is a new parent's best friend. You're absolutely right on the changing table. My parents put a comfortable changing pad on a library desk and used the drawers to store baby essentials like diapers, pins, and powder. For clothing, new parents should add clothes for other sizes on their registry because babies outgrow them soooo fast.

      Love the picture under the changing table part! For those who don't know this simple trick, as soon as you get the diaper off a baby boy, put a wipe on him. Most of the time, he won't pee then because he knows that he'll get himself. For changing either boys or girls, position the clean diaper under them before you take the old one off, so that if they poop it will be on the other diaper instead of on the changing surface.

      I've been a nanny and a daycare teacher for years, and I learned those tricks my first day on the job.

    • RooBee profile image

      RooBee 8 years ago from Here

      Aw, thanks MM!! We borrowed several things from family members and I'm SO glad we did! Glad you liked the hub & thx for reading!

    • Mighty Mom profile image

      Susan Reid 8 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

      Great article, RooBee. The more things new parents can borrow (my son's car seat went through our entire family -- it got more than its share of action) the better. Very practical advice and I agree your avatar photo is wonderful. MM

    • RooBee profile image

      RooBee 8 years ago from Here

      I can only speak from the mom-of-one POV, Frieda, plus we live in a very tight space so excess items have to be avoided - maybe I'll revise to make it more specific to 'cozy' living. :)

      Thanks so much for coming to read!! :D

    • Frieda Babbley profile image

      Frieda Babbley 8 years ago from Saint Louis, MO

      Now, I have to totally disagree on the basinette. I spent very good money on a bassinet for my fourth and it was well worth it! I wish i'd had it for all my other ones. As for the rest, you're so right. And it's so much better to buy as you need than to get because you feel like you have to or because it's so cute and so and so has one.

    • RooBee profile image

      RooBee 8 years ago from Here

      Witty Writer, that's great and so true. My son loves boxes as well, and absolutely adores helping me sweep and cook - he's a great helper! Thank you for stopping in!

    • RooBee profile image

      RooBee 8 years ago from Here

      Shiba- haha! No, there really isn't any owlishness to him at all. You can imagine the looks I was getting from the in-laws at the hospital! ;) Thanks for reading!

      Anja, thank you! How ironic when they are terrified of a big elaborate toy you've gotten them thinking they'll surely love it! So funny. Thanks for sharing :D

    • RooBee profile image

      RooBee 8 years ago from Here

      badco! Hello, and thanks to you for the sweet compliments *beams* (I'm the lucky one, though) :)

    • RooBee profile image

      RooBee 8 years ago from Here

      I see you understand, Janetta! It can definitely be overwhelming trying to prepare for a new baby.

      Thanks so much for coming by!! :)

    • wittywriter profile image

      wittywriter 8 years ago from Concord New Hampshire

      As a mother of three and a grandmother, I totally agree with this hub. When my daughter-in-law started to ask what she needed - she told me she was surprised that I did not list bassinette (although one was bought for her), nor a changing table... etc. My list was onesies, diapers, bottles, backpack (I do not think that the design of a diaperbags are reality), other clothing etc. Stuff is that, stuff. It will not make your baby happier. My boys played with the boxes things came in, not the expensive items. Even at 6 and 8 (my youngest) they play with paper, scissors, crayons and markers. They make superheros out of them - why pay almost 10.00 for superheros when I have tape. LOL!

    • profile image

      Janetta 8 years ago

      awww...first off--that is the sweetest picture!! Love it :)

      there are sooo many things out there for moms and babies alike it is hard to figure out what you need and don't need. Like a wipes warmer. lol

    • anjalichugh profile image

      anjalichugh 8 years ago from New York

      First of all ...I adore your profile picture. God bless the baby!

      You are so right about the things you mentioned. Although it's been a very long time since I changed diapers (lol) the last time, the memories are still so fresh in my mind. Speaking about the walker, I guess I bought one of the prettiest ones available (about 14 yrs ago) for my son when he was just 7 months old but he never used it. He loved to walk around the room with stagerring legs. He used to scream when I even tried bringing the walker near him. Lol

      I loved this hub.

    • shibashake profile image

      shibashake 8 years ago

      Great information RooBee. Very useful, honest, and a good layout. That picture at the end is priceless!

      Also love that new profile picture. Your son must get most of his good looks from you because I don't see any owl in him at all ;)

    • RooBee profile image

      RooBee 8 years ago from Here

      Yes, fishskin, my sweet little guy is a little over a year old now. I had no idea how much I would enjoy being a mom! :)

      Thanks for reading!!

    • fishskinfreak2008 profile image

      fishskinfreak2008 8 years ago from Fremont CA

      Wow. You're a mom?

    • RooBee profile image

      RooBee 8 years ago from Here

      Yay, so glad you came by frogdropping :D :D

      Happy you liked it! Its true - many a hub could be written I suppose about all the useless crap we buy!!

      Thanks for the rating *beams*

    • frogdropping profile image

      Andria 8 years ago

      RooBee - great article! All you've said is true. You waste so much time and money on useless items - simply because as a parent you feel obliged to buy them because ... well ... you know ... err ... why not ...

      Enjoyable read, factual and above all - honest information!

      Rated up :)

    • RooBee profile image

      RooBee 8 years ago from Here

      Thanks for reading, Pete, I appreciate your comments. Hopefully others can learn from my storage closet full of unused and barely used baby stuff! :)

    • Pete Maida profile image

      Pete Maida 8 years ago

      You are absolutely right. We all have been suck into buying things for babies that we don't need. Everyone in the family has to buy a baby a new outfit. At the rate a baby grows most of the outfits will be too small before they are used. We have to stop and think sometimes.