Having a baby is one of the most momentous, beautiful and bewildering life-changing experiences to happen to anyone so of course companies pounce on it like hyenas on a warthog carcass. There are more useless products marketed to new parents than potentially any other demographic. Websites abound saying baby’s first year will cost upwards of $5,500 bucks (not counting the hospital bills). Save your money and your space by skipping the following craptactular items.
1o. Infant Car Seat
These things are worthless. They only fit babies from 5- 20 lbs which means they will last you for at most one year and then you will have to go out and purchase another carseat. Convertible carseats fit children from 5 lbs all the way up to 35, 40 or even 45 lbs depending on the brand. This means your child will be riding safely from birth until they are ready for a booster seat (5+ years).
9. Tummy Time Mat
Your child will use this thing a couple of times, then they will become mobile, lose interest and you will have this brightly colored nightmare shoved into the back of the closet until a friend gets knocked up and you can push it off on them. Do you have a blanket? A toy or two? You’re all set up for tummy time, no foam bendy things required.
Savings: $25 – $80
8. Changing Table
Let me let you in on a secret, you can change a baby’s diaper on any flat relatively clean surface. Shocking, right? Another little known fact is that once an infant has gained the ability to move they will do so during a diaper change. That baby being placidly changed in commercials is an actor, at home he alligator rolls away from his parents leaving a trail of pee and giggles in his wake. The point being, once they can roll over of their own accord this fancy pants changing table will turn into a glorified shelf. Grab a towel and change the kid on your bed or the floor.
Savings: $80 – $250
7. The Diaper Genie
It sounds great! Your house will smell like your baby is crapping flowers! Don’t believe it, it’s all lies. This is an expensive version of putting a dirty diaper in an used plastic bag and it works exactly as well. If the smell of disposables is that offensive to you, switch to cloth diapers and save even more money. Otherwise just throw the offending turd catcher in a Whole Foods bag and double knot the sucker.
Savings: $35 plus $6.99 for refills
6. Wipe Warmer
If you think the baby wipe is too cold, warm it between your hands. That’s what I do for the few months out of the year when that even seems remotely necessary.
Savings: $16 – $30
5. Diaper Bag
Let’s face it, most of them are hideous. The ones that look like a sane human over the age of twelve would be carrying them are expensive. Solution: you’ve probably already got a perfectly serviceable bag that can carry baby stuff. My old man and I have used large purses, tote bags, backpacks, messenger bags and reusable grocery bags to carry the assortment of crap is necessary in order to take a small child into public. They worked just fine and we escaped humiliation.
Savings: $25 – $200
4. Play Pen (Yard)
Play pen, play yard, call it whatever you like, every kid I’ve ever known has called it prison. These things are unpopular with the little people, they are bulky, heavy and a pain to set up and break down. Good child-proofing will keep the kid safe and happier than this mesh big house.
Savings: $59 -$150
3. Infant Swing
Some babies love the motorized swing, some hate it and all will grow out of it well before they reach their first birthday. Baby swings take up a lot of room and can only guarantee you a few minutes without holding the baby at a time. It’s just not worth it.
Savings: $85 – $120
2. Full sized high chair
Look at this thing, it’s huge. In addition to being the thing you’re most likely to bump into in your kitchen it also separates your kid physically from the family table (something a lot of babies just don’t appreciate).
Instead pick up an booster seat that straps directly to a chair. Most come with a detachable tray so the kid can have their own eating space or be brought up to the table with everyone else. This style of “high” chair is portable, easy to clean and will run you around $25.
Savings: $60 – $250
They are so adorable and so unnecessary. Fact: human babies don’t come out of the womb walking. They aren’t like giraffes. It takes most people a whole year to learn how to walk and during that time kids double their size. Babies can go through several shoes sizes before they are regularly tearing around the living room. Stick to socks and footie coveralls in the winter and show off those sweet little toes when it’s warm, you’re carrying them everywhere anyway.
Savings: $ 5- $250 (Yes, Saks Fifth Avenue has a $250 pair of infant shoes )
Overall, avoiding this stuff will result in $445 to $1,315 staying in the bank. Do you know how many date nights that is? You could do dinner and a movie 6 to 17 times. That’s 18 – 52 DVDs. Or 22 to 65 new books. You could buy bicycles, matching t-shirts and an Xbox. Or I suppose you could use some of it to buy baby stuff you do need like a good over-the-shoulder baby holder, a monitor or a decent camera. Whatever you decide, it will probably be more useful than any of this junk.