Ten baby essentials you can do without

Wednesday, November 27th, 2013

If you’ve ever picked up a pregnancy book or scrolled through a prenatal website, you’ll be well aware of the extensive checklist of items you supposedly need to buy for your newborn, also sometimes known as a ג€˜layette’. Before you begin to wonder if a remortgage should also be on that list, relax: you don’t need EVERYTHING.

Many items can and should be recycled, bought second hand from friends, eBay or charity shops. Furthermore, here is a list of those items you probably don’t even needג€¦

1. Baby bath

Sure, it might look pretty in pastel pink or blue, but it’s going to take up storage space and you really don’t need it ג€“ use the sink! Baby can be supported easily with one arm, leaving the other free to soap and scrub. Then when she is old enough to sit unsupported and too big for the sink, simply progress to the tub.

2. Top and tail bowls

These plastic bowls feature two compartments to keep water and flannels separate for washing your baby’s top and bottom half. Two clean household bowls will do just as well. Or again, you could use the sinkג€¦

3. Changing Table

There’s absolutely no need to buy a separate piece of furniture to fit your nappy changing requirements. Babies can be changed anywhere ג€“ on the bed, on the floor, on the sofa ג€“ providing you have an easy-to-clean changing mat and an arm in position to keep rolling babies safe. Both of which you’d need anyway if you were to change your baby on a changing tableג€¦

4. Baby Wipe Warmer

It’s very sweet to worry about the chill of a wet wipe on your baby’s delicate privates, but really there’s no need. When your baby is screaming at the top of her lungs because the feel and smell of her soiled nappy is deeply offending her, you really don’t want to go to the trouble of plugging in a wipe warmer and waiting for it to heat up. In cold weather, simply keep the areas of your baby that are likely to get cold covered up, and warm the wipe between the palms of your hands before use.

5. Nappy disposal bin

Nappy disposal bins are knee height plastic bins that come with a disposable plastic liner. The lid twists to allow the liner to hygienically seal used nappies and allegedly prevent odour. In reality, the bins pong after a few months despite the delicately scented liner, and realistically, why would you want to leave a week’s worth of soiled nappies in your nursery to fester? Instead pop each nappy in a nappy bag, and take it out with the trash on a daily basis.

6. Nappy stacker

And while we’re on the subject of nappies, why would you want to display them in a stylish holder? They’re nappies, not pieces of art! Nappies can be stacked in drawers, left in their bag or come straight from the box. Why spend the time organizing them ג€˜just so’ in a stacker when you could be cuddling your baby instead?

7. Baby food processor

It’s a mini food processor. That’s what it is, and that’s what it does. Just because it has the name ג€˜baby’ on the packaging doesn’t mean it does anything different to your average food processor. The only thing it does do is use up valuable space on your kitchen counter.

8. Baby reins

Baby reins work for some parents, but for others they’re a complete waste of money. Cast your mind back to the last time you saw someone using them ג€“ the kid gets tangled up, swings round and loses his footing. That’s when he’s not screaming blue murder about the indignity of being put on a lead like a puppy dog. If your child is old enough to be walking independently while out and about, then he’s likely to be tall enough to hold your hand. That’s all you need.

9. Shoes

Yes, OK, there’s something undeniably cute about baby shoesג€¦ but shoes exist to protect feet that are walking. So young babies have no real use for them, and in fact you could argue that they restrict their movement and make it less easy to find their feet. Experts recommend that beginning walkers should be barefoot anyway as they learn how to step and balance. So by all means buy cosy socks and soft booties to cover little toes, but there really is no need for mini traditional shoes.

10. Expensive clothes

Finally, yes of course you’re going to want your little one to look smart, so certainly buy a couple of outfits for special occasions. But that’s all you need ג€“ a couple. Babies grow so ridiculously quickly and produce so much mess from every orifice (and believe me, it stains) so to buy designer togs is akin to throwing money down the drain.

Bryony Sutherland is a mum of three who recently decluttered a very large array of unused baby equipment from her loft.

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