Top 5 Useless Baby Shower Gifts
If your twenties was the season of weddings, than no doubt, your thirties is the season of babies. All those friends you once bought a seventy-five dollar wine rack from Williams Sonoma for, are now ditching expensive glass bottles for possibly more expensive plastic ones. For all the baby showers I've been to, thrown, or had in honor of one of my own children, I can say that while there are certainly some cute and novel gifts out there for the hard-to-shop-for mommy-to-be, very few of them make any sort of practical sense. Do not be suckered in by genius marketing. Do not be suckered in by anything featured on Hoda and Kathie Lee. And, most importantly, do not down play the gift of diapers and wipes. The rest of these really only look good in magazines and on TV.
#1: Portable UV Pacifier Sterilizer
Featured on the Today Show as "the size of a baseball, it fits easily in the diaper bag," this novelty sterilizes your pacifier with UV rays, in just thirty seconds.
Last time I checked, a baby wipe, your shirt, or your own mouth does the same exact thing. For free. And takes up zero room in the diaper bag. First time moms are a lot like first time hikers. They grossly over-estimate the weight and necessity of most things in the bag. The portable pacifier sterilizer will be one of the first things to go.
#2: Dishwasher Basket
Do not be deceived. Though this basket looks like one of those practical gifts that will make you look like a smart shopper who thinks outside the box, the fact is, this is one of the most impractical little gadgets known to motherhood. For those who do use bottles, filling and emptying this apparatus built for gnomes takes about twice the time it takes to handwash bottles and nipples in the sink. Instead, opt for the long-handled bottle brush, or Playtex Drop Ins® bottles and liners. Seriously. Everyone who owns one of these baskets uses it exactly one time before relegating it to the bottom of the Tupperware drawer, where it one day becomes a toddler's play toy.
#3: Plastic Baby Bathtubs
I know I'm not the only one who never used this thing. Go to any baby consignment shop and you'll see literally dozens of these tubs, brand new, priced about $5. Another deceptively practical gift, what no one tells you is (1) how difficult it is to fill and empty the tub, (2) how much using it inside the bathtub actually hurts your lower back, or (3) that by the time the baby is really big enough to fit properly inside, he can practically sit up on his own and doesn't need it any more. Word to the wise: take a bath with your baby, or use the kitchen sink as a virtually identical and much more practical solution (it's the right height, shape, and comes with a built-in sprayer).
#4: Shopping Cart Covers
Okay, so it seems like a cute idea, give your child a relatively soft and outfit coordinating barrier from germs. But, until you actually go shopping with a toddler or baby who is old enough to ride in the shopping cart, you cannot appreciate the fact that less is always more. In the first few critical germ prevention months, your baby will be too small to ride in the cart like this. You will keep him or her in the carseat and put that in the cart.
By the time the child is old enough to sit up and ride with you, you'll be more than over your worry about germs or anything else for that matter (remember, you're on to picking up the binky from a dirty floor and sucking on it yourself before popping it back in that cute screaming little face). Besides being bulky and almost impossible to remember when you can hardly remember your five-item grocery list, in real life these things scream overprotective-, waaaayy too much time on my hands-, or addicted to Pinterest- Mommy. You might as well top it off with a baseball card binder full of coupons and get the rest of the store to hate you.
#5: The Diaper Genie
Priced between $25 and $50 (depending on which model you get), the Diaper Genie ranks as above average on the scale of onesies to nursery furniture. But again, this is one gift that is too good to be true. Despite how many first time parents register for it, it continues to make it into "Top 10 Most Impractical Baby Gadgets of All Time" mommy blogs nationwide. First complaint: the smell. Second complaint: the "dirty diaper sausages."
The most practical parents I know simply dispose of particularly foul diapers by putting them immediately into plastic grocery bags and heading straight to the outside garbage can. All would agree it is worth the extra fifteen steps.