Registering for baby gifts when I was pregnant was incredibly stressful for me. Registering for wedding gifts back when we got married? That was fun. I went CRAZY on kitchen supplies and beautiful home goods that I still lovingly admire to this day (bless you, Martha Stewart for Macy’s) But registering for a baby? If you choose the wrong item, it could HARM YOUR CHILD. Hey, no pressure! Say you get a baby item off your registry and it’s ineffective, so you leave it in the corner to gather dust. Then one day your newly toddling kid crashes into your unused baby bathtub sitting in the corner of the bathroom, they fall and smash their face in, you take them to the ER for stitches and then CPS gets called because your kid got hurt and they have to do a home visit and the lady from CPS give you the judgey eye because your sink is full of dirty dishes and you haven’t done laundry in a month because you spend all your time keeping your kid from falling over unused baby stuff. Now tell me how much “fun” it is to go around Buy Buy Baby with a scanner gun.
As if I didn’t have enough to worry about while I was pregnant, like accidentally eating a turkey sandwich or picking up a bowling ball.
So without further ado, let me present to you the 5 “Must Have” Baby Items we did not need or use.
Just to add: the links to products below are affiliate links, which means I’ll get pennies on the dollar if you make a purchase through the link. All of the opinions are my own, and none of the companies listed here had anything to do with this post.
1. A Jumperoo. And a Walker. And an Exersaucer.
Pick one and stick with it. As soon as your kid inevitably grows out of it, it will become a useless piece of plastic. Save the storage space and decide on one. We have a Baby Einstein exersaucer that we lovingly call “the spaceship” and it is awesome. At my parent’s place, we have a Bright Starts walker and it is awesome. I’m glad we don’t have both or more cluttering up our small two bedroom apartment.
2. Shopping Cart/High Chair cover.
I received this as a gift and then let it sit languishing in a cupboard till I gave it away. Don’t be so precious. Buy some Handi-wipes (I should buy stock in that company, I have so many packets) and wipe down the nooks and crannies, then get on with your shopping or dining.
3. Cushioned High Chair.
I say this especially because we chose Baby Led Weaning, but it applies to any parent, I think. You don’t need a high chair that reclines (that is in fact, dangerous). You definitely don’t need one that’s too cushioned, because cleaning it will be a pain in the ass. The high chair we have now is completely plastic and perfectly simple to just hose down, especially after Hummus Lunch when I’m also scrubbing it out of her hair. Make sure the tray is nice and big and wraps close to their body and wide around the sides. (And you can never go wrong with a tablecloth shoved underneath to catch spills!)
4. High-Powered Breast Pump.
First, let me say that this applies to me only because I stay home with the peanut, and I’m never away from her for long enough periods to where she needs more than one bottle of milk. If I did, work outside of the home on a regular basis and wanted to keep breastfeeding when I was with her, then I would get a hospital-grade pump in a heartbeat. Preferably one of those hands-free, high-powered ones that look like you’re hooked up to something the mad scientist who created Edward Scissorhands invented. But since I need milk only so my husband or the baby sitter can take over a feeding here and there, or to mix with her oatmeal in the morning, my cheapie, single pump Evenflo machine has been fabulous. It’s a step above a hand-powered one, and it suits me fine.
(When it comes to pumping? My best advice to make sure you consistently pump enough milk is to stay on a regular schedule with your pumping and drink an incredible amount of water. I pump every day at 10:30pm before bed (and hate every second of it, but it is what it is) and drink nine thousand gallons of water every day. #fact. Brewer’s Yeast and oatmeal in the mornings helps, too)
5. Video Baby Monitor.
Actually, we don’t have a baby monitor at all. Believe me- when she needs me, I’ll know. That kid has an amazing set of lungs. It helps, obviously, that we live in an apartment with walls so thin that I can hear my neighbor tapping his toothbrush on his sink at night. The closest we come to a video monitor is the mirror hanging across the room from the baby’s crib, so when I peek in through her slightly-opened door I can see in the reflection just what she’s up to in there. Lately I’ve caught her holding some very serious conversations with her stuffed animals. Even when she was real tiny though, it wasn’t that difficult to tiptoe in and take a look at her and creeper-ish-ly watch her breathing. If I had a video monitor I know I would be an obsessive freak about it and watch her like a hawk. Try to get your kid used to sleeping with a little bit of noise, so they don’t wake up if you go in their room. And don’t foster new-parents obsessiveness with a video monitor. Trust me on this one.
Here’s what I AM happy we got. (AKA New-Parent Lifesavers)
The be-all, end-all of ridiculousness of overpriced teether toys, Sophie is actually worth it. She costs us a staggering $25-FREAKING-dollars (for a plastic giraffe, smdh) at Babies-R-Us in Manhattan, but the baby loovvvvvves her (She’s only $18 on amazon.com, thank goodness). We’ve lost Sophie once already and had to emergency buy, so our current Sophie brought the total cost spent to $50. I’ll be damned if Sophie someday is worth $75, so she’s on a tight leash these days.
2. Boon collapsible tub.
This thing is awesome. It can be flipped up on one end so you can prop up a tiny newborn with their head out of the water, or use it as a full bathtub once they can sit up (and you don’t feel like filling the whole tub with water). When you’re done, it folds flat and can be hung behind the shower head to drip dry. It also places the peanut in prime position to play peek-a-boo with the shower curtain.
3. Boon silicone feeders.
I know, another Boon product. I swear they have nothing to do with this post! When the peanut started teething, I asked my brother to buy me one of those mesh feeders so she could suck on a breastmilk icecube. He bought me this by accident, and it’s the most perfect mistake. So much so that I bought another one for back-up. I fill it with anything that’s too messy for her to hold in her hand (watermelon, avocado, overripe banana, mango) and she eats and teethes her gums at the same time. She’ll eat anything if it’s in this feeder. Her eyes light up when I hand it to her. I also credit it for helping us really get going with the whole Baby Led Weaning train. I think it helped her make the connection between the taste of food and bringing something to her mouth by herself.
4. The Mommy Hook.
The Mommy Hook was a gift from a friend who had a baby about four months before we did. She said it was super handy for her, and I totally see why. These days, I notice it on every stroller around town. It always has my keys and a pocket-style reusable shopping bag hooked to it, and it’s invaluable when I need a second set of hands. The only con is that the Big Man gripes that it should be called “The Parent Hook”. Whatever.
5. Ergo Baby Carrier.
Believe the hype. The Ergo baby carrier is the best. This is coming from someone who has five (5!!!) baby carriers. My Ergo is a a maroon-colored hand-me-down and it’s my go-to carrier, always. I can sherpa the kid around town all damn day if I wanted to, and my back will never hurt, and she’ll never slip out of place. I use the Baby K’tan wrap for doing chores around the house but as soon as we’re out, it’s Ergo time. The only con is that I can’t nurse in it, like you can with a soft carrier, but eh. Who cares when this thing is so comfortable.
There you have it! I’m sure that as the kid grows, the things that are handy will change as well. Keep an eye out for the best newborn baby items, my next post in the series. Anything you registered for that’s now sitting uselessly on a shelf?