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Baby Products We Can Live Without

Since when did having a baby mean spending a fortune on useless or semi-useless STUFF? Sam Apple, a writer at one of my favorite off-beat parenting sites,, notes that the $50 Zaky -- it's really listed for $34.95 at The
Pregnancy Store --
is flying off the shelves.

According to The Pregnancy Store, "The Zaky is an ergonomic infant pillow designed by a mom to mimic the size, weight, touch, and feel of her hand and forearm to help her baby with comfort, support, protection, and development. The Zaky can help calm your baby and help your baby sleep better through the night." In other words: it's a beanbag in the shape of a hand. (Think: Thing from "The Addams Family").

Rank the Zaky right up there with the Why Cry Baby Crying Analyzer for $65 or the BabyBeReady Diaper Bag Survival Kit for $99 as a waste of diaper money. Now that's something every baby needs: diapers! Add to your list a few onesies, sleepers, breast milk or formula, a car seat, cloth diapers -- they make great burp cloths or private-part covers during diaper changes -- and a place for the baby to sleep and you are covered.

For those enamored with just buying the basics, Consumer Reports publishes a basic checklist of what you need for a newborn -- and remember, yard sales and consignment shops have tons of great baby stuff CHEAP!

What other off-the-wall baby and kid products have you scoffed at? Any newfangled or old-fashioned must-haves? What did you buy that you would tell a new mom not to waste her hard-earned bucks on?

By Stacey Garfinkle |  May 9, 2007; 7:00 AM ET  | Category:  Babies
Previous: Adoption Choices | Next: Say 'Cheese,' But Don't Buy It


I actually received all our baby equipment as a gift or a hand me down. The only thing we purchased for DD in the first two years of her life was the crib, diapers, wipes, and plastic breast milk bags. The one thing I would recommend is the boppy if you plan on breast feeding. We got that as a gift. We also liked the collapseable stroller for the infant car seat. We never used our sterlizer or bottle heater. We steralized our bottles the old fashion way (boiling in a pot) and heated our bottles in a cup of warm water. There are so many great and silly products out there. Half of the fun is just purchasing them. I would definitely second garage sales, consignment shops, and hand me downs. Since we did not pay for a single baby item, we passed down all our baby stuff to friends, family, and charity. We did not try to resell anything that was given to us. Keep the items passing around and save money. Don't feel the need to buy.

Posted by: foamgnome | May 9, 2007 7:22 AM | Report abuse

I second the hand me downs are great theory. Also never turn down an offer from someone to throw you a babyshower. It is great to have stuff to see what works for you. Foamgnome loved her boppy and I would say skip it. I just used a regular pillow for breastfeeding and that worked much better for me. The one thing I would recommend would be either a Baby Bjorn or a sling for the baby especially for urban parents. Strollers can be pesty when doing a lot of city walking and very hard to run errands on foot pushing a stroller and dragging your shopping cart behind. It is great to be able to hold your baby and have free hands.

Posted by: Raising One of Each | May 9, 2007 7:38 AM | Report abuse

I agree the Zaky sounds ridiculous too but I am always careful to ridicule anything a new (or experienced) parent tries to get a newborn to sleep. Been then, done that. If I thought the Zaky would have bought me an hour or two more of sleep a night, I definitely would have plunked down the cash.

Posted by: lmiller | May 9, 2007 7:50 AM | Report abuse

I'd have to say that beyond the basics (car seats, crib, stroller) anything that you can't use for more than it's specific purpose is generally not needed. Seriously, a wipe warmer?

There are other products out there that I think have been hyped up to scare parents into buying them. I still am scratching my head at the entire notion of crib bumpers. They are to be used to prevent legs/arms between the crib slats the first few months of life when the infant is essentially immobile. Once crawling/sitting up starts, it is recommended to remove the bumper... when your child is actually mobile enough to really GET their arms/legs caught between the slats!

Anyways. I'll third the notion of yard-sales, ebay, consignment stores. You go, foamgnome and Raising One of Each!

Posted by: One of Each, one on the way? | May 9, 2007 7:52 AM | Report abuse

Be very careful of the hand- me -down, yard sale, and second hand stuff. Some of it is unsafe at any speed .

Posted by: Virgie | May 9, 2007 7:53 AM | Report abuse

What about all of the play toys for kids under a year of age? I've been to friends' houses where it looks like a Toys R Us barfed all over their living room, dining room, and family room (not to mention the dedicated play room). Our home has a few toys that are used, and some that are not, and I wonder... am I depriving my kids if I don't have all of the "stuff?"

Posted by: what about...? | May 9, 2007 7:56 AM | Report abuse


I agree - if there is one thing that parents should purchase new, it's a carseat. However, we did offer our infant seat to friends of ours because we knew for a fact that the seat hadn't been in any accidents or misused (they couldn't afford the seat initially).

Once we're done with the seat, we're going to look in to donating it to the local police; some units have seats to loan out to car-rental companies for families who're traveling and need to rent a car with a seat.

Posted by: One of Each, one on the way? | May 9, 2007 8:00 AM | Report abuse

We got most things as hand-me-down or gifts and just bought a carseat and universal stroller for the carseat initially. Now that our daughter is older we bought convertable carseats and a good, small stroller. My godfather gave me a jog stroller which is probably our most used piece of unnecessary equipment - I would not be back in running shape without it.

The only things we bought besides diapers and formula (after weaning) were a winter coat and a few pieces of clothing.

Posted by: MaryB | May 9, 2007 8:05 AM | Report abuse

My number one thing to avoid is electronic toys that don't have an "off" switch.

Posted by: neh | May 9, 2007 8:07 AM | Report abuse

I think the wipe warmer is ridiculous. And if you use it regularly, I think you'd set yourself up for traumatizing the poor baby when the inevitable time came when you had unwarmed wipes, such as when you have to change the baby out in the world. Better baby just be used to unwarmed wipes.

Posted by: Rockville Mom | May 9, 2007 8:13 AM | Report abuse

While I think there are a lot of "ridiculous" products out there, I can also think of at least one person who has told me "they couldn't live without" each one of them. Clearly it's very personal what will appeal to a particular mom/family/baby.

I could not have lived without my Boppy, although I know a lot of people who did without.

I could have lived without my Diaper Genie, although some of my friends could not.

I loved the bottle steam sterilizer and used it every day for bottles, nipples, breast pump, pacifiers, etc. Many of my friends just used the dishwasher.

All our friends said "you have to get a Baby Bjorn" - my daughter HATED it.

Same with the infant swing - HATED it. Most people we know say they couldn't have lived without it.

My #1 tip - borrow, borrow, borrow. Make sure it's someone you know and trust (if it's an infant car seat, high chair, etc. - something that could have safety issues). We borrowed so much stuff from friends - car seat, Baby Bjorn, floor mat/play gym, Exersaucer, clothes, etc. It was brilliant to borrow and use and then return it a few months later. Most things we borrowed were returned within the year (in time for some of our friends' second babies).

Posted by: Vienna Mom | May 9, 2007 8:14 AM | Report abuse

The dipaer genie didn't work but we did use the sterilizer for a long time.

Posted by: CLIFTON MOM | May 9, 2007 8:19 AM | Report abuse

Diaper genies, wipe warmers, bedside bottle warmers, "cod pieces" for changing baby boys, and my personal current favorite -- the helmet you can get for your baby as he/she learns to crawl so he/she won't hit his/her head. Also agree with previous posts on baby toys -- ours loved pots, pans, wooden spoons, and a large bottle of conditioner promptly christened "Baby Julietta".

Posted by: Anonymous | May 9, 2007 8:23 AM | Report abuse

Anyone know the filling in the Zaky? Infant Pillows have been banned for many years. I find it odd they chose to use that name, given that "infant pillows" are banned.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 9, 2007 8:24 AM | Report abuse

The only thing I wish we hadn't bought (or, more accurately, asked for) was an expensive stroller. I'm not talking a Bugaboo here, just a nice-quality "all terrain" stroller. It's simply too big and heavy to be practical for most of the things I want to use it for. I wish we'd waited until after the baby was born to decide what stroller to buy.

Other things have been silly in retrospect, but seemed great at the time. For instance, we got a Bumbo seat when DD was three months old, and she used it a lot for two months. But once she learned to sit up on her how, it was bye-bye Bumbo. Kind of a waste.

We never had an exersaucer -- DH was dead-set against it. In retrospect, I kind of agree with him (though at the time I was furious, because I was always looking at ways to immobilize the child so I could shower).

Posted by: NewSAHM | May 9, 2007 8:24 AM | Report abuse

The BEST baby gift we got? Our Baby Jogger, no question. We'll borrow everything when #2 arrives. Okay, the car seats, diapers and wipes will be new... Anyone got a gently used double Baby Jogger they can part with in August?

Posted by: Stroller Momma | May 9, 2007 8:27 AM | Report abuse

This is a great topic for me - we're expecting our first in under a month and I just finally finished putting together a registry this week. I left a lot of stuff off that we might or might not need - do we need a sleep positioner? Will the baby get along better with a bouncer or a swing? What kind of sling do I want, if any? I did splurge on a Boppy - it seems multi-purpose enough that we'll find something to do with it even if I don't like it as a nursing pillow. I tried to register for things I know we'll need and leave the nice maybes for surprise gifts or things to get after I have the baby in hand and know what problems we need to resolve.

Posted by: SPC | May 9, 2007 8:28 AM | Report abuse

loved the boppy because it is a lot firmer then a regular pillow. Daughter hated the baby bjourn and grew out of it by four months old. We did have a side sling that she liked a lot. We used it for the first month because of my C-section. We have the diaper genie and I have to say the Diaper champ is better because it uses regular garbage bags. But the truth of the matter is, you don't need one at all. A regular garbage can with a lid can hold pee diapers and you can just take the poop diapers to the outside garbage can in a regular grocery bag or the cheap diaper bags from the dollar store. You get a box of a 100 plastic scented liners for a $1.

Posted by: foamgnome | May 9, 2007 8:29 AM | Report abuse

Oh we also loved sleep sacs. We used the gerber ones for the first few months (the kind with sleeves) and later the Halo sleep sacs (with out sleeves). And when she was three we used a Canadian brand. But we had a winter baby.

Posted by: foamgnome | May 9, 2007 8:32 AM | Report abuse

I agree the wipes warmer is a waste. I recommend not buying an expensive potty chair because you don't know if your child will use it-mine only wants to use the "big" adult potty with a donut type seat on it. Another item I don't recommend buying right away is a swing-my son did not like it! One great small investment was a basic baby monitor (about $25-30). The one I have is awesome and really helpful and it is not fancy. Other must-haves for me were onesies up to 24 months, 2 new car seats, a nice stroller with a large basket underneath, a pack and play (very useful til child figures out how to escape,and doubles as a changing table, bed, safe play area), secure high chair and a nice crib.

Posted by: MDmom | May 9, 2007 8:32 AM | Report abuse

I have two kids. Both required different gadgets. One breastfed, the other pump. One loved the baby bjorn, the other HATED it. One loves electronic gizmos, the other prefers wooden blocks.

As a matter of safety, nothing more than a light blanket went into the crib with the baby. That hand thing is just sad. Just put your own hand on your child (shock horror! Actual contact??!!)

The only thing your baby NEEDS is lots of time with mom and dad. Get that covered and the rest is gravy.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 9, 2007 8:35 AM | Report abuse


Use cloth diapers and save a LOT of money and help the environment.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 9, 2007 8:39 AM | Report abuse

Another useless item for me is the diaper genie. Seems like a waste to me to buy the special liners. I just used a cheap diaper pail and wrapped the toxic diapers tightly in plastic grocery bags before putting them in the pail. Its a good way to recycle all those bags!

Posted by: MDmom | May 9, 2007 8:39 AM | Report abuse

There are a lot of products out there that are useful only to the people that created it to make money. My son is 5 now, but when I had him I got the basics, crib, carseat, stroller. I didn't purchase a swing or bouncy seat or boppy thanks to ingenius friend who said "don't put you money on it, not all babies like that stuff, use one that one of your friends has, see how he likes it, if you feel he likes it and it works for you, then buy it" Best advice ever! Just about everyone knows someone with a baby. When you go to visit with your new baby, use what they already have as a tester item, the baby will love it or hate. It really helped me to save a lot of money. There are also great second hand baby stores in the area that only sell good condition items and are up to date with all the recalls. Check it out, it's a money saver!

Posted by: kfrank214 | May 9, 2007 8:41 AM | Report abuse

Baby Einstein and similar "brain stimulators" are also a waste of money, yet they must be one of the more profitable baby products.

Posted by: David S | May 9, 2007 8:46 AM | Report abuse

I HATED the baby monitor. Remember that they pick up every sound the baby makes. Once I got rid of it, my DD and I slept so much better. My doctor said that unless you live on the opposite sides of a HUGE house, you will hear the baby if they really need you. All of us make noise when we sleep but not all the noises need a parental response.

I never used one with my son and he turned out just fine and we all slept peacefully.

Posted by: Another MDMom | May 9, 2007 8:49 AM | Report abuse

My daughter is training now. So it is too late for cloth diapers. Besides, I don't think day cares allow cloth diapers.
I agree I think Baby Einstein is a total waste. SIL loves that stuff. DD does like Baby first channel. But she is in preschool now. I don't think she would like it when she was an infant. I also think Sesame Street would have been fine for her as well.

Posted by: foamgnome | May 9, 2007 8:50 AM | Report abuse

My criteria--does this thing exist solely to make me feel guilty, or solely to give me one more darn thing to clean?

Boo to:

The mesh bags to put food in, that the kids can suck on to taste things before they're ready to chew.

Quilted shopping cart covers.

Potty chairs, especially the ones that play music when the kids pee.
(Go with the seat that fits on your toilet seat--I don't poop in a bucket in the living room, do you?)

I've never seen them in real life, only in ads, but there is a sling that looks like a rock climbing harness, that Mom holds up so the kid can walk earlier, without falling down. Also, the Mommy Belt, a tool belt for Mom that holds diaper, bottle, wipes, etc.

The nursing people tell you it's so great because it's free. Then why are there are all the nursing accessories? Shirts, drapes, bras, pads, lotion, pump, bottles, pillows, dedicated water glass to put next to your nursing rocking chair with special footstool, pins for your bra to remind you which side to start with next time... You can even buy a contraption involving tubing to tape on your chest, to fake the act of nursing. Healthy, sure. Free, no.

Two thumbs up on the exersaucer. It lets the kid be safe and clean, in situations where they otherwise couldn't. They can see you and you can talk to them AND actually get things done--laundry, gardening, painting.

Posted by: di | May 9, 2007 8:53 AM | Report abuse

Actually, the biggest waste is when all those materialistic shallow people insist on getting matching styles for everything -- e.g. matching car seat cover design, bedding, wall decorations, blankets, etc. When you get the "collection", they're invariably ridiculously expensive. Imagine the good that wasted money could have done for the poor and hungry of the world. But, NOOOOO, these people HAVE to have matching things.

Posted by: Ryan | May 9, 2007 8:55 AM | Report abuse

Before I got my first daughter, a friend who already had children took me to Toys R Us to register for baby things. She took me through the store telling me, "You need this, you need this." I just scanned almost everything she suggested, but when I got home with the list I was aghast at how long it was. I crossed a number of things of the list and took the list back to the store to get them to take those things off the list. I did that two or three times before I was satisfied that I didn't have anything I didn't need on the list.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 9, 2007 8:56 AM | Report abuse

I loved my wipes warmer! We have a drafty house and the baby was born in January. It was the least I could do. ;)

Don't buy a breast pump. Rent a Symphony, even if you plan on multiple kids. It's really worth it. Also, get a pumping bustier for hands free pumping.

Borrow a bassinette/cosleeper, as you'll probably only need it 6-8 weeks. Same with the pack-n-pay, unless you travel a lot, then it's a great thing to have.

Instead of a Boppy, get what is essentially a half Boppy. The lactation consultant at Capitol Medical Group sells them.

The only things you need for a crib are: mattress, mattress pads, fitted sheets. I got a skirt for looks. You don't need anything else.

We tried about 5 carriers, and the Bjorn is best. I got mine off craigslist for $20.

I don't use a baby tub. I just line the sink with a towel. You also don't need baby towels. They can use grown-up towels! I do like the small wash-clothes, though.

Bibs! And lots of them, even before food. We have a puker. Get the ones with snaps or soft velcro. You don't want to irritate their necks.

That's all for now! There is so much more...

Posted by: atb | May 9, 2007 9:02 AM | Report abuse

My 25 year old baby tub (sigh) has found a second use every time the oil is changed in the car.

It also has been a bathtub for the pups when they were small (double sigh).

Posted by: Anonymous | May 9, 2007 9:05 AM | Report abuse

OK, I breast fed for 2 full years. I loved the Medella pump that I was given. But it is hard to know if a you will breast feed if your a first time mom. What would your advice to new moms? Should they buy a pump, rent, or just wait to see if they end up breast feeding?

Posted by: foamgnome | May 9, 2007 9:08 AM | Report abuse

I loved the boppy for both kids. I agree with the comment about the baby monitor. Our baby's room is just across the hall from our bedroom so we left the doors open a crack. That way, we'd only go to the baby when we were super sure she and then he were awake. I did use it for naps though so I could go outside or take a shower. A good breast pump is a good investment if you're going back to work and want to continue breast feeding. I know you can buy them used but it seems like something worth paying for new. I also agree on the stroller point. Get the infant car seat and then see. With my babies I really only needed the Snap n' Go until they were out of the infant seat and then could have switched over to a lightweight. But, I didn't realize that before and spent a lot on a heavy Peg Perego. I ultimately got a lot of use out of it but could have used something else. Remember, pregnant moms, an outing to a baby store, once you've had the baby and are going a little stir crazy at home is a great way to fill the day! Get some diapers, some clothes, wipes, something for the baby to sleep in - crib or basinet - and save the rest for later. Although decorating a nursery before can be super fun!

Posted by: PT Fed Mof2 | May 9, 2007 9:10 AM | Report abuse

The biggest waste of parental resources are products like Baby Einstein that lull parents in to thinking that the child they park in front of the TV so they can take a shower (a legimate desire, of course) are teaching the child anything. Babies should not watch TV at such an early stage and, if they do watch, parents should not fool themselves in to thinking that they are "educating" their progeny in this way.

Posted by: manufactured needs | May 9, 2007 9:19 AM | Report abuse

I received a bottle warmer which made the milk way too hot! Plus it took 2 minutes, which is an eternity when your infant is crying at 3 AM.

Posted by: blah blah | May 9, 2007 9:21 AM | Report abuse

Virgie's comment reminds me of when I had my first child. Much of what we received were hand-me-downs from a girlfriend of mine, including the bassinet. There was a gap between the bassinet pad and the cloth sides, and we wanted the baby to feel snug, so I placed tightly rolled receiving blankets in the gap all around. Turns out that was a smart thing to do. I was looking through a recall list and saw a bassinet that looked almost identical to the one we had. The gap was a suffocation risk, and a baby had actually suffocated in a bassinet. We were done using it by that point, so we took it straight to the dumpster. A playpen my niece gave me was on the recall list as well, but the company sent us a device to keep the playpen from collapsing (strangulation risk). We were able to use the playpen at my mom's house when she babysat my son.

So, whether you buy or take hand-me-downs, just keep checking the Consumer Product Safety Commission website for the recalls. It's a good source.

Other hand-me-downs (mostly clothing) were extremely helpful and caused much less drama!

Posted by: theoriginalmomof2 | May 9, 2007 9:22 AM | Report abuse

Boo-boo Bear -- Waste of money. It's a little terry cloth pocket to put an ice cube into and rub on bumps or rub along gums of a teething baby. I don't know how much it costs, but just putting an ice cube into a washcloth would do the same thing.

Most of our family baby equipment (cribs, high chairs, strollers) were passed around to whoever had the last kid. Even most clothes and blankets. Just launder and they're good as new. If you really need to buy, go to a local thrift store or Goodwill and clean the stuff with spray cleaner.

Car seats - learn how to install them CORRECTLY. All the consumer product safety tests won't do a bit of good if they aren't installed correctly.

Pampers and store-bought diapers are a waste of money, clog up our landfills, and seep into the water supplies. Just use cloth diapers you can wash and fold yourself. Yeah, right, with this bunch of posters that's when pigs will fly.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 9, 2007 9:22 AM | Report abuse

My kids are grown. There was not all this fun stuff available when we had babies and we could probably not have afforded to buy much of it anyway. But a Mom does what a Mom has to do to get through the night - so I way back then "invented" my own version of a Zaky.

I would put the sleepy baby down (after feeding, changing, cuddling, and singing) and place my hand on his tummy/back and pat gently for a short while. Then I would just hold my hand still another short while. THEN, I would quickly swap out my hand for a small stuffed bear the baby liked. It wasn't heavy enough to be a breathing hazard. And it worked. He didn't feel "alone" as he drifted deeper into dreamland. That baby NEVER wanted to go to bed but once there, he slept ALL night long.

Posted by: bommerette | May 9, 2007 9:33 AM | Report abuse

Oh, and this too: As adorable as the crib sets are, parents are told not to put soft, fluffy stuff in the crib when babies are tiny, so I didn't use the bumpers until the baby was a bit older, and I hung the quilt on the wall as a decoration. Then I had to remove the dust ruffle because it got in the way of the drawer under the crib once we had to lower the mattress. It's all very cute, but I recommend saving your money for more useful things.

Posted by: blah blah | May 9, 2007 9:37 AM | Report abuse

Obviously, this differs for everyone, but here's what we absolutely couldn't live without: infant swing; snugride infant carrier and bundle me (winter baby); sleep sacs; and infant tub. The exersaucer was good for entertainment, esp once the baby could move around. Sometimes you just need to contain him! We like our Diaper Dekor, too, but it's not totally essential. Baby didn't much adore the bouncy seat, but I kept one in our bedroom to contain him while I dried my hair, etc.

They're definitely low tech, but I'd recommend a LOT of cloth diapers -- used them as a codpiece when changing the little guy, shoulder guard, put it on my chest when nursing and wanted to cover up a bit more. Lots of washcloths, too. A few rattles and small toys that either lit up or played some music made our son happy. A lot of the other stuff sent him over the edge. And get a bunch of good board books. You'll get sick of them, that's for sure, but your child will love them for a long time. In terms of clothes, I put the baby in an undershirt almost every day, so i liked having a lot of those. This can help stretch your wardrobe when you're between seasons -- use a long sleeved undershirt with a short sleeve shirt and go for the layered look!

I'm in the no boppy camp, myself. I used smaller pillows, esp once the baby got bigger. Renting a pump (medela lactina) worked well for me. Be sure you get enough bottles and funnels or you'll go crazy keeping track of what's clean.

Posted by: Amy | May 9, 2007 9:38 AM | Report abuse

different babies like different things. my son loved his baby bjorn. granted we only used it for about 5 months but it was a life saver. if he started crying a little trip outside & a walk around the block calmed him down. he loved his bouncy seat. loved his floor gym. loved his exersaucer. hated the swing until he got to be about a year old & then loved the swing at the playground but his infant swing. hated it. i would second the idea of borrowing or buying used. he loved his exersaucer but we only used it for about 4 months. it was a life saver when we had it.

Posted by: quark | May 9, 2007 9:38 AM | Report abuse

9:22am- Of course your realize that daycares do not accept cloth diapers. Not to mention, if you're in an area with low water resources, the greenies recommend disposables.

Posted by: atb | May 9, 2007 9:38 AM | Report abuse

Both of my children slept their first 4-6 months in the same bassinette that I was in as an infant and that my mom was in as an infant. If something is really a neccesity it should last for years (my mom is almost 70). My husband gave it a new coat of paint and new wheels and its just gorgeous. White wicker and almost an antique - now that is something worth having.

Oh, and I loved my boppy and baby bjorn too. I wish they made a self inflating boppy that you could travel with. If you breast feed through the first year the boppy really saves your arm from becoming sore by taking some weight off. My children use it in the playroom now as a reading pillow to rest their heads on (at 3&6) so there is no waste there!

Bottle warmers are ridiculous. I agree with the posters about potty chairs. The donuts that go on your potty are much better and more hygenic and make children feel like "real" big kids anyway. I do have a confession, we used a wipe warmer for my son who, to this day, hates being cold. It stopped the screaming at changing time. He REALLY hates cold things. His lips turn blue in seconds when he is cold. My second child never used/needed it and it was quickly given away.

As for toys, my kids are crazy for their wooden blocks, matchbox cars, puzzles, wooden "dress-up" dolls, stuffed animals, and balls. Those dolls/animals with buttons zips and fasteners for "practicing" are a total waste, ugly and not fun. We got 3 as gifts and within a year all, looking brand new, were at Goodwill. Basics really are better when it comes to toys.

Posted by: palisades | May 9, 2007 9:40 AM | Report abuse

Freecycle often has used baby items as well.

I got a sling when #2 was 9 months (he was a late crawler and walker). Wish I'd had it with #1 as well. I really loved it, much better than the Bjorn.

Diaper genie's been great--almost done with it after 5 years, can't wait.

Potty chair was not much used by #1, preferred the potty seat you put on the toilet. Plus you don't have to separately clean the potty chair. #2 is training on the regular toilet only.

We got about 3 different diaper bags (1 I bought, others as gifts). Although I thought it overkill I have to say that I used them all for some period of time, as needs/situations changed.

Also liked the monitor, so I could be outside while baby was sleeping. But I agree that it was much too noisy for use in my bedroom.

Oh, the great diaper debate. There used to be services for cloth diapers, but they all went away. I was working with #1 and just felt like I didn't have the energy to use cloth, besides daycare didn't want them. And with #2, well I'd just gotten to used to disposable. A SAHM friend used cloth that she washed and felt like it didn't take much extra time. But they really aren't absorbant and had to have those plastic outerpants--very bulky for the kids. Recently found out that Native Americans used moss in diapers to absorb moisture--now there's a marketing idea waiting to take hold.

Posted by: A NOVA Mom | May 9, 2007 9:41 AM | Report abuse

Oh, of course, board books are a MUST. My children are still reading the ones we bought when they were babies - especially my kindergarten who can now read this by himself to his little sister. Books in general though. Also, A public library card is a necessity!!!! :)

Posted by: Palisades | May 9, 2007 9:43 AM | Report abuse

Borrowing or getting second hand baby stuff is FANTASTIC. I would have LOVED to have borrowed anything, but the opportunity never presented itself. Now that our child has outgrown a lot of the infant equipment, I make it a habit to offer them to certain friends and family members. One of my friends in particular has borrowed some things and returned them in great condition. So, I was amazed when my sister in law said she didn't want the hand me downs! (I did the math and knew we weren't planning on needing them again for a while) She wanted to get her own collection of things. We'll see if she feels the same way when her attic is full of baby swings, tubs, you name it!

Posted by: Claudia | May 9, 2007 9:46 AM | Report abuse

We got some fancy toys as gifts but a lot of our best toys are fashioned from stuff that we had around the house.

My 19 month old twins have an amazing amount of fun in the bath with two empty baby-shampoo bottles. A friend gave us little plastic picture books for them to "read" in the bath and they like those very much.

We made some great toys by putting uncooked macaroni inside empty plastic bottles and carefully gluing the tops back on.

I've got a lot of great used toys off of Craig's List.

I foolishly fell for the crib (bumper and quilt) sets also. (Two of them!) They did not get much use. We could have done without them quite easily.

We got a lot of use out of two Baby Bjorn carriers.

We have a good quality McClarin double stroller and I use it almost every single day.

If you are pregnant with twins, I have a story for you. I bought an upholstered rocking chair for nursing/cuddling without realizing that it would not be practical because you can't safely hold two babies at once after the first few weeks. I actually dropped my infant son trying to "switch babies". (He was ok, but it was scary.)

What has worked a lot better for us has been to put a mattress on the floor in the nursery with a number of extra pillows to make a nice safe "nest". It has been great for cuddling/nursing two kids at once and we still use it every day.

Posted by: mom of twins | May 9, 2007 9:47 AM | Report abuse

It is really dependent on the person. I thought our baby tub was mostly a waste and barely used it. Found it much easier to put the baby in the tub on a towel with water running and no plug. Babies take only a few minutes to wash. Our tub (and it probably had a lot to do with the style) was cumbersome.

Our first loved her swing, son hated it. So we got him a different swing which he tolerated but mostly preferred to be held (hence the sling).

Posted by: A NOVA Mom | May 9, 2007 9:48 AM | Report abuse

I disagree that cloth diapers save money or the environment. The cost of a diaper service to clean them is about the same as buying disposable diapers, and washing them yourself only saves a small amount of money.

And cloth diapers are not good for the environment either. The waste goes in the water (versus a landfill). And The energy consumption is much higher in cloth diapers. Plus, you use a lot more cloth diapers than you would a disposable diaper because of absorption differences.

Posted by: Cliff | May 9, 2007 10:06 AM | Report abuse

I gotta say, our daughter loved the exersaucer and so did we! :)

Posted by: Mama | May 9, 2007 10:12 AM | Report abuse

Re: almost anything that comes in a big box -- the box and cut-out inserts are probably more fascinating than the toy that came in the box. My niece got a toy stove and played with the empty cardboard box more than the stove itself. Another money-saver: set up a card table and drape a sheet or blanket over it. Viola! Instant tent/cave/hidey-hole.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 9, 2007 10:15 AM | Report abuse

Love the comments today. Keep 'em coming. I'm in the camp that loved the boppy, but not as a nursing tool. It was a great stabilizer when the boys were learning to sit up and falling over a ton, particularly in a house with wood floors everywhere. And it was a good head-raising pillow when the boys were sleeping and congested.

One more saving money tip that worked for us is a clothes share. We have friends with two boys exactly a year older than each of ours. All of our clothes, including many hand-me-downs, have gone through all four boys. Now that they're older, it's getting more tricky. I had to swing for new slim pants for my 5-year-old with solidly built knees. He poked holes in every pair of pants that came our way!

foamgnome: re breast pumps. I'd recommend waiting until a mom has a child before deciding on a pump and then trying some out somehow. I used the Avent hand pump with son number 1 until I went back to work (after using a rented hospital-grade pump for awhile). I bought a Medela pump at a consignment shop and it didn't get my milk out. The shop let me return the pump. Ended up finding an Ameda Purely Yours pump that I had to buy new from a lactation consultant that did the trick.

Posted by: Stacey Garfinkle | May 9, 2007 10:22 AM | Report abuse

I find all the nursery decorating stuff to be a waste, but I do have a friend who decorated her nursery beautifully and I love it.

Our son actually sleeps with us, so we didn't get a crib for a long time. Our changing table is actually a narrow folding table that we already had. We bought a changing pillow from Wal-Mart, 1 cover, and just use a plastic changing pad on top.

I admit, I picked up a wipes warmer at a garage sale for $3, and did use it. Why not?

Baby bathtub was a waste. We bathed our son in the kitchen sink on a towel for a long time.

I pumped a lot of breastmilk and found that wide (at least 1 inch) masking tape will hold the pumps on your breast (no need to buy the "harness". I would read during my pumping time, hands-free.

Onsies are essential up to 24 months (they help position diapers as well).

We bought a good stroller at a garage sale. Car seats too.

Now I plan to buy most of DS's clothes at garage sales, resale shops and toys too.

The baby bjorn and a sling are both essential. I liked the boppy pillow as a protector for our son the first few months sleeping in our bed. We had him up by our heads, cradled by the boppy and wrapped snugly in a blanket.

Posted by: Rebecca | May 9, 2007 10:24 AM | Report abuse

Ok - My kids are 20 and 23, but we made the mistake of buying the Wonda Chair. It was a car seat/high chair/rocker/changer combination. $650 was a lot of money in 1982. They gave us a crib free so we thought we were getting a bargain. We were not. In the end we only used the high chair regularly. We bought a changing table and an umbrella stroller. The car seat was too heavy to pull in and out of the back seat of our two door car and the stroller base did not fit in the car unless we took the wheels off each time. Also we could not fit groceries etc. in the trunk with the stroller base. The high chair/changing table was too low to use as a changing table. If I were only four feet tall it might have worked, but at 5'8" I had lower back pain from bending over in a few days. If they still offer this thing - borrow a baby and test it before you buy it and try taking the stroller apart in the parking lot in the rain too. LOL

Posted by: Mair | May 9, 2007 10:24 AM | Report abuse

A nice big swaddling blanket was a must-have for us. We ended up buying the Miracle Blanket, and even though it was fairly costly for a blanket, it worked great and the little guy usually couldn't break out of it. We all got more sleep, so it was worth the money!

I preferred the My Brest Friend pillow over the boppy. Much more supportive, and now he uses it to help him sit up. And they do have a collapsable version for travel.

We also loved our sling. I got a simple New Native from a friend. It was our magic sling, he'd fall asleep in it instantly.

Posted by: Kali | May 9, 2007 10:30 AM | Report abuse

Changing tables.

Posted by: Dad | May 9, 2007 10:35 AM | Report abuse

Must haves: Glider or rocking chair; bouncy seat for son because he would not sleep in anything else for awhile; imagination (I made up verses to Hush Little Baby -- like 25 verses -- and even now 3 year old DS calms down when I sing that to him -- hey at 3:30 am Momma's going to buy you a Ribeye steak :)

Not necessary: bassinett (9 pound babies did not fit well and they hated it);

Posted by: Marie | May 9, 2007 10:40 AM | Report abuse

Sounds like Cliff doesn't want to launder or fold diapers. The laundry water goes into the sewer system, not back into the ground. Diaper service is for wimps.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 9, 2007 10:41 AM | Report abuse

I made a friend of mine a set of wooden alphabet blocks for her one year old. She says her daughter likes them over just about every other toy she has!

Posted by: John L | May 9, 2007 10:45 AM | Report abuse

1. full-sized changing table. I do not understand people who hunch and bend to change the kid in awkward locations when for $175 we bought a usable changing table/bookcase/chest of drawers combination. In between kids we used it as a chest of drawers and place to store puzzles.
2. new crib, new carseat, new high chair, new stroller. The technologies have changed so significantly between our two kids that I was a fool for trying to save everything but the crib. Everything has been improved and the police failed our infant car carrier inspection because "it's 4 years old."

Things I didn't need:
1. about half the child safety devices were never used. My kids never got hurt.

Posted by: DCer | May 9, 2007 10:54 AM | Report abuse

One note on changing tables: they are great for regular sized people. SIL bought us a dresser/changer and I found that being just a little under 5 feet tall, it did not work well for me because I wasn't tall enough to comfortably lift baby onto the changer portion.

Posted by: foamgnome | May 9, 2007 11:00 AM | Report abuse

About potties:

My parents trained me on a potty, but that wasn't when it saw the most use. It lived in the car's trunk for road trips when I was a toddler. If we got stuck in a traffic jam and I really needed to go, they could pull over, pull out the potty, and I'd go right there instead of messing up my car seat.

Posted by: youngling | May 9, 2007 11:03 AM | Report abuse

I would classify anything used to "cover provate parts during diaper changes" as utterly unnecessary.

Posted by: They're babies! | May 9, 2007 11:06 AM | Report abuse

I've got four under the age of 8, and really, you don't need much. A safe place to sleep, a few clothes, diapers, wipes, and something to eat and you're golden. I had to have a bunch of junk with my first that was crazy, but now that I'm on the fourth, I know just what's important. We don't use cloth diapers, because there is no service here and I already do four loads of laundry a day as it is just trying to keep on top of four little kids and their messes. I breastfeed, and a boppy has been a lifesaver in terms of my back; regular pillows were just not firm enough. A pump isn't really needed much unless you return to work; I did after the first three and my Medela PIS really was worth it, especially when you consider that I nursed each one at least 8 months, and the longest two years (so far - the baby is only 6 months) even at the cheapest rental rates, it was worth it more in the long run to buy it. I also have used my bouncer extensively - that's how I get a shower and do other housework or deal with the other kids; it's lightweight enough to carry around the house easily and is still safe for him to catch a quick nap. I also have loved my baby carrier - my kids hated the baby bjorn (leg holes too narrow), but I have a Mei Tai carrier, kind of like a baby bjorn but more like a sling, I guess, where I tie the baby to me - it's great for trips into the store. Then I also have a lightweight travel stroller; it's made out of aircraft aluminum, folds in a jiffy without having to bend over, has a shoulder strap so you can quickly throw it over your shoulder to carry through security or up museum escalators or what have you.

Things you don't need at all: Diaper genie or any kind of pail, changing table (bed or floor works great), specific baby detergent like Dreft (just use tide free or all free and clear), special baby towels (big ones are better, more to wrap around the baby), ear thermometers (not accurate until kids are older), coats or buntings for babies (car seat straps won't get tight enough with that bulk in the way; just use blankets to cover the baby once he/she is strapped in), walkers.

Posted by: FishyGirl | May 9, 2007 11:08 AM | Report abuse

I absolutely agree that there are ridiculous things for sale these days for babies. Having said that, every person lucky enough to be able to afford baby gadgets beyond the basics of clothing, food/formula/bottles/pump, and diapers will find some items of use out there. We're all different and each baby is different.

I have 2, 14 months apart. The best gadgets I relied upon were the Baby Bjorn, exersaucer, bouncy seat, and a few Baby Einstein movies.

I confess I could not live without Baby Einstein. It's the only way I can get both calmed down before bedtime, and it's part of our evening routine. My older one (23 months) can say and recognize the alphabet, count to twenty, and identify more animals than I probably could. I attribute this to the Baby Einstein movies she watches (1-2 most days). If I had more help at home (grandmother, etc.), I probably wouldn't rely on them every evening, but it works for me. I am personally grateful for educational DVDs that don't make me cringe as many children's shows do.

My beef is with stuffed animals as baby gifts. Why does everyone (mostly non-parents) feel compelled to send you stuffed animals when you are having a baby? In addition to getting them as baby gifts, we've gotten them for Christmas, birthdays, you name it. The first teddy bear was cute, but when we hit 10 stuffed animals the week after our first was born, it got ridiculous. Anyone else face this problem of having a huge bin of stuffed animals that are just taking up space (I swear, the stuffed animals are reproducing in that big bin when I'm not looking)? Anybody have recommendations on places to donate some of these?

Posted by: Jen | May 9, 2007 11:12 AM | Report abuse

My wipes warmer cost 20 bucks and keeps my baby from getting jolted awake in the middle of the night by an ice cold wipe-- she stays drowsy enough to go quickly back to sleep. Worth every penny. For those who think this purchase is crazy I suggest you take a cold washcloth to your stomach in the middle of the night and see how it feels...

Posted by: happymom | May 9, 2007 11:18 AM | Report abuse

Biggest waste of $ for our first kid: a fabric-covered, on-wheels, big-trayed high chair, the kind everyone seemed to buy at the time. The crevices caught and held on to every crumb, she was dwarfed by the chair and tray, and we hated the kitschy fabric. We moved her into a no-nonsense booster seat as soon as we could.

For our second kid, we bought a $20 plastic highchair from Ikea. It is small, modern-looking, fabric-free, and has not one crevice! It's easy to keep clean, doesn't dominate our dining room, and works just fine.

Posted by: dc | May 9, 2007 11:19 AM | Report abuse

Jen, the reason people give stuffed animals is they are cheap and pretty much gender neutral. Go to toys r us and see that stuffed animals run around $10-15. A cheap way to make the kid happy for two days. Yes, you will continue to get way too many. I donate some to our day care, church nursery, charity, and pass the character ones to other children. Like DD was given a Barney. Although she does like Barney show, she never cared for the animal. Passed the doll to the first Barney crazed toddler I could find. Overall kids like one or two stuffed animals. The rest are just fillers. They may hug one for five seconds once a month but not enough to keep it around. While they are still small, I recommend thinning the herd every once and a while. Another place to donate stuffed animals in good condition is battered women's shelter and family shelters for the homeless.

Posted by: foamgnome | May 9, 2007 11:21 AM | Report abuse

Remember the Boppy can be also used as a seat cushion post-vaginal delivery. That thing saved my life!

Posted by: TNS | May 9, 2007 11:22 AM | Report abuse

OK, guilty secret. Brand new stuffed animals can be donated to toys for tots. As long as your child is fairly young, they don't remember a gift that was given to them the next day. Open the gift, smile say thank you, write a thank you note and put it in a bag for the toys for tots donation.

Posted by: foamgnome | May 9, 2007 11:24 AM | Report abuse

I hate to encourage borrowing a breast pump, but the Medela Pump in Style is very expensive and didn't work for me, and you may want to test it. The Lactina didn't work for me either. The Symphony is it for me. I have to rent it, as $1200 is a little too much to shell out for my own. :)

We use a dresser as a changing table. Just stick a $30 dollar changing pad on top. This is her favorite place to be in the house. It's comfortable for both of us, she loves our chat time, and she's never been traumatized with a cold wipe. He he.

Posted by: atb | May 9, 2007 11:30 AM | Report abuse

"Sounds like Cliff doesn't want to launder or fold diapers. The laundry water goes into the sewer system, not back into the ground. Diaper service is for wimps"

Yes, it's sheer American laziness. The disposable diapers won't biodegrade in the landfill for 1,000 years!!!

Posted by: Anonymous | May 9, 2007 11:32 AM | Report abuse

I guess I'm in the minority, before my daughter was born, I thought bottle warmers were ridiculous. After attempting to warm with hot water, for a few days, I ran to get one. I loved it, the bottles were just right, and it was so easy to drop in and wait. I will definetly use this for my next baby.

Posted by: ope71 | May 9, 2007 11:41 AM | Report abuse

'Sounds like Cliff doesn't want to launder or fold diapers. The laundry water goes into the sewer system, not back into the ground. Diaper service is for wimps.'

Posted by: | May 9, 2007 10:41 AM

When solid waste (including human feces) is removed from the water in a sewer system, much of it ultimately ends up in a landfill. Sewage treatment is not some kind of magic system where everything is turned into evian, and there are no waste byproducts. My point is that whether the waste goes through sewage treatment or to the trashcan, neither one is environmentally preferable.

And I don't want to launder and fold diapers when it yields little, if any, environmental or cost saving benefit (which is the case with cloth diapers). There are significant costs associated with cloth diapers, and to suggest otherwise is simply false. And there are environmental costs of using cloth diapers, and to suggest that they are good for the environment is balderdash.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 9, 2007 11:42 AM | Report abuse

I know I sure feel lazy working 40 hours a week, doing the lion's share of the shopping, cooking, and cleaning, and spending as much time as possible with my daughter. I'm a real slacker.

Posted by: atb | May 9, 2007 11:43 AM | Report abuse

My vote for unnecessary baby item: "bath seat." I never did figure out how to make the silly suction cups work. Instead, I used a small rectangular laundry basket (a tip from one of the parenting magazines). Cheap, and it works as a bath-toy holder when you're not using it. Especially handy when you only have one bathtub and other kids/adults use it too. You can use it until the kid's feet touch the end. I share this tip with EVERY new parent I meet.

Posted by: Loren | May 9, 2007 11:50 AM | Report abuse

"When solid waste (including human feces) is removed from the water in a sewer system, much of it ultimately ends up in a landfill"

Dear Lazybones,

In my area,, human waste is burned and doesn't end up in a landfill.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 9, 2007 11:52 AM | Report abuse

As someone who had a terrible time with breastfeeding (pumped for 7 weeks and then wound up giving up), I'd suggest NOT buying a pump ahead of time. But I would also suggest renting one and having it there when you get home, in case the baby has trouble feeding. Our daughter was jaundiced, and wouldn't feed because she was so tired, so I started pumping right away.

Posted by: DC Mom | May 9, 2007 11:52 AM | Report abuse

Burning human waste is good? Is burning coal good for the environment, too?

Posted by: atb | May 9, 2007 11:54 AM | Report abuse

Exersaucer and "Johnny Jump up chair" were great for our first - she would bounce in the jumpy thing for 45 minutes to an hour if we let her. It was the only way we ate dinner.

Second kid hated both - he crawled out of the jumpy chair in 2 seconds and yelled his head off in the exersaucer. Luckily both were hand me downs so off they went to Good will.

Posted by: cmac | May 9, 2007 11:56 AM | Report abuse

I have to chime in to say that we love our changing table -- it's one of my definite must-haves. DD is 17 months old, and we still use it for nearly every diaper change. It's just so much easier than crouching on the floor.

That said, I think a changing pad on a dresser or bathroom counter could do just as well.

And I second the gripe about stuffed animals. DD must have 50 stuffed animals by now. She does love them and she'll play with them for a fairly long time, but the sheer number is daunting. I'll be donating some soon.

Posted by: NewSAHM | May 9, 2007 11:59 AM | Report abuse

I still use the baby monitor, and my girls are in elem school. When my first daughter was a baby, she would play quietly in her crib for a while after waking, and I got pneumonia while home with her. So I stayed in bed until I heard her playing, then quickly hopped in the shower while she played. Now that I have two, they share a room. First, they say some funny things while playing up in their room. And at night, it is easy to tell if they are playing/talking instead of sleeping. I cannot hear them upstairs when I am in the basement, so the monitor gives me a little more freedom of movement when they are falling asleep. I keep the receiver in the basement near the stairs, so when I am on the main level I can still hear them (although I'd hear them on that level if they needed me). It's a convenience rather than a necessity, but they don't cost much. I bought one for my parents house, and now they use it for my grandmother, who sleeps on a different floor from them (they have a very noisy house, and although it is only two levels, you can't hear from one level to the next).

Posted by: Anonymous | May 9, 2007 11:59 AM | Report abuse

I'm a soon-to-be first time mom (August) and am hoping to breast feed. The best tip I've gotten so far about the breast pump is that some insurance companies cover the cost. Definitely something to check out.

Posted by: KNK | May 9, 2007 12:00 PM | Report abuse

Never heard of a Zaky before but it sounds like a waste. The Diaper Genie is disappointing but gets the job done.

I've put together a list of baby gear that worked very well for us:

It has several great items like the portable high chair (we now own 2, one for eating out and one for home) and the onesie extenders.

Posted by: Mac | May 9, 2007 12:01 PM | Report abuse

Car seat installation: rather than assuming you did it correctly, have it done by the Safe Kids organization. My daughter was born in Howard Co, MD. Local fire stations have set days/times when you bring your carseat in and they attach it very, very firmly (my one car had permenant indentations on the back seat when I sold it) using foam to guarantee proper level. I used them every time a car seat was put in one of my cars, before my daughter was allowed to ride in that car. More info on their website:

Posted by: 21117 | May 9, 2007 12:06 PM | Report abuse


Great List!

Would my cats enjoy the Playskool Busy Ball Popper?

Posted by: Diane | May 9, 2007 12:07 PM | Report abuse

"Plus, you use a lot more cloth diapers than you would a disposable diaper because of absorption differences.

Posted by: Cliff | May 9, 2007 10:06 AM "

Except children in cloth diapers tend to toilet train earlier than those in disposables because of the difference in absorbancy. Disposables keep the bum so dry there is no desire to toilet train.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 9, 2007 12:19 PM | Report abuse


Glad you liked it. Yes, it would probably keep your cats entertained for a while...but they'll need you to put the balls back in.

Posted by: Mac | May 9, 2007 12:21 PM | Report abuse


Glad you liked it. Yes, it would probably keep your cats entertained for a while...but they'll need you to put the balls back in.

Posted by: Mac | May 9, 2007 12:21 PM "

Could my cats figure out how to put the balls back in?

Posted by: Diane | May 9, 2007 12:23 PM | Report abuse

Human waste is also often used for yard fertilizer; when dried and all the bacteria is removed (done at the treatment plant, btw), it is good fertilizer for any non-food producing soil.

Posted by: John L | May 9, 2007 12:31 PM | Report abuse

Unnecessary baby item? Baby Einstein or most things tv/media related. Why people cite the AAP & WHO for reasons to breastfeed, vaccinate, etc. and then ignore the tv warnings is beyond me...

Posted by: ELK | May 9, 2007 12:34 PM | Report abuse

Things to cover baby parts are not intended for modesty. They're meant to keep pee out of your eye.

John L- you have a poop yard you have a poop yard. I have to admit, I'm not sure I'd want my kids playing in a yard fertilized by stranger poo.

Posted by: atb | May 9, 2007 12:39 PM | Report abuse

Putting a kid in front of a screen isn't necessary. A playmat/activity gym or exersaucer serve the same function, but are much more stimulating. They also just like to watch you do your thing. I have no idea if it's good or bad to put a kid in front of the TV. I have no idea if there is a "safe" age to do it. I do know you could choose a less controversial option. And I know I'm not comfortable with my 4mo watching more than a glimpse of the food network.

Posted by: atb | May 9, 2007 12:49 PM | Report abuse


"Unnecessary baby item? Baby Einstein or most things tv/media related. Why people cite the AAP & WHO for reasons to breastfeed, vaccinate, etc. and then ignore the tv warnings is beyond me..."

Cause women take the road that is easiest for them to be martyrs, and/or SAHMs, or get some kind of special treatment.

Look at all the phony excuses to use disposable diapers!

Posted by: Anonymous | May 9, 2007 12:53 PM | Report abuse

How is "daycare doesn't accept disposable diapers" phony? You're not a very good troll. You won't even respond when someone blows holes in your argument.

Posted by: atb | May 9, 2007 1:18 PM | Report abuse


"How is "daycare doesn't accept disposable diapers" phony? You're not a very good troll. You won't even respond when someone blows holes in your argument."

Do you mean daycare doesn't accept cloth diapers?

Is the kid in daycare 24/7 ?

Posted by: Anonymous | May 9, 2007 1:24 PM | Report abuse

My son rejected just about anything with the word "chair" in it. I enforced the carseat and sometimes was able to get him into the auto-rocker but that was it.

I was given a wonderful soft quilt that I'd put on the floor in whatever room I was in and he'd hang out on that. My biggest treasure when he was an infant was the baby gym. I'd put him on his back with the gym and he could last a full 20 minutes (enough time for a shower). Then, when he let me know he'd had enough, I'd turn him over on his tummy where he push himself up and watch the world for another 10-15. He developed strong muscles and could crawl by the time he was 5 months.

So my vote for the most useless baby item is any type of baby chair.

Posted by: jane jetson | May 9, 2007 1:40 PM | Report abuse

atb: You don't want your kids playing in yards fertilized by strangers' poo. Do they ever play/swim in a public pool? How many unwashed heinies are dipped in those pools? I don't want to put my face in somebody else's heiney water.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 9, 2007 2:03 PM | Report abuse

Best baby items:
1. Baby bjorn- used it just about every day with son- walks around neighborhood, sightseeing, travelling, etc. We moved around the world (literally) and also drove across the country with a 6-month old- and he LOVED sightseeing in the National Parks hanging around in the Bjorn, checking out the geysers at Yellowstone...
2. Activity center- how do you keep a just-fed baby from spitting it all up when all they want to do is roll on their stomachs and attempt to crawl? Put them in the center and let them play upright for 20 minutes!
3. Lightweight, small, and compact stroller- a Combi, in our case. Super-light, with a 3-way fold, even held our infant car seat. Ever try to carry one of those Graco monsters up a flight of stairs in a train/subway station? Never mind gate-checking it on an international flight- good luck! But my little Combi did just fine...
Didn't really have any useless baby items- being overseas definitely kept down the "I want it"- when you have to pay for it to be shipped, you REALLY have to want it!

Posted by: td | May 9, 2007 2:09 PM | Report abuse

to 2:03: I've always found the baby pool disgusting. And, no, I have an infant who has not been to a public pool, which is hopefully highly chlorinated.

to 1:24: So, it's OK to use disposable diapers in daycare then? Thanks for your approval. We're planning on going to cloth at about 18 months to get ready to potty train. Otherwise, it doesn't make any sense, time-wise or environmentally.

Posted by: atb | May 9, 2007 2:11 PM | Report abuse


"to 1:24: So, it's OK to use disposable diapers in daycare then? Thanks for your approval. We're planning on going to cloth at about 18 months to get ready to potty train. Otherwise, it doesn't make any sense, time-wise or environmentally."

18 months? Is the kid retarded? Mine were all trained by year one!!

That explains a lot of the laziness.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 9, 2007 2:14 PM | Report abuse

Still not a very good trollism. Average age of potty training is 3. You're not very good at this.

Posted by: atb | May 9, 2007 2:38 PM | Report abuse


If you've ever brought in topsoil or purchased fertilizer for your yard, you probably put human poop on it. Processed waste from treatment centers is a valuable commodity for both bags of topsoil and fertilizer...

Posted by: John L | May 9, 2007 2:45 PM | Report abuse

I did without many of the items listed on this post, but was spoiled by my family who splurged on a Macleren double stroller for my birthday. I have a small car, it folded right up, and I still put my preschoolers in it. It is the best gift I ever got.

Posted by: Mom of two close together | May 9, 2007 2:52 PM | Report abuse

intelligence has absolutely no relation to toilet training. please explain how the maturation of the bladder to be able to hold urine is related to intelligence.

Posted by: quark | May 9, 2007 3:52 PM | Report abuse

You'd have to check your insurance policy. Our insurance company paid for a breast pump rental from the hospital only while DD was in NICU.

Posted by: A NOVA Mom | May 9, 2007 4:02 PM | Report abuse

The problems with cloth: water use in washing them, resources for producing them (usually cotton, I think) and the environmental toll of all the extra detergent being used.

Posted by: Beth | May 9, 2007 4:03 PM | Report abuse

The best, most useful, and most appreciated shower gift I received with my first pregnancy, was a dozen yellow washcloths. Ever since, I've given a dozen good quality neutral-color washcloths to every expectant mother I can. They're great for cleaning everything, and go right into the bleach-load of laundry. I think I still have three of four of those old yellow washcloths - as well as the dozen light-green ones bought for baby number two - and my older kid will be fifteen next month.

Posted by: Sue | May 9, 2007 4:08 PM | Report abuse

A couple things about disposable vs cloth diapers.

Yes, cloth diapers use cotton and the production of cotton is rough on the environment, but disposables use cotton batting too; with cloth diapers, at least you're using that cotton only once.

As for where the waste goes, technically you're supposed to flush all solid waste that's in a diaper, regardless of the diaper being used.

And in terms of washing, yes it uses additional water and adds detergent to the environment, but the amount can be greatly mitigated--front-loading washer and environmentally-friendly detergents will cut down on the resources required and pollution generated.

Plus, we'll be able to use the diapers with child #2.

Posted by: Mouse | May 9, 2007 4:45 PM | Report abuse

I really tried to be a gear minimalist when I had DD, but you know what they say about good intentions lol ...

At first I thought a wipe warmer was a waste, but like a PP said, it keeps her drowsy during diaper changes and eliminated the screaming in anticipation of a cold wipe. I see my role as making the life of my newborn as comfy as possible, so I shelled out the $20 for a warmer. Now she actually smiles during changes, so it was definitely worth it for me.

I also love my Diaper Champ. Yes I know that I could just use the regular trash for pee diapers and run the poo ones outside, but I don't really have the inclination to. If it saves me even 2 minutes a day for the 3ish years she'll be in diapers, then that's 36 hours of my life I get back, and I'll gladly pay $25 for it.

What is kinda useless for me is the baby DVDs - Sesame Street is free, and airs everyday. Also, bottle warmers. DD takes hers cold or room temp, I never really understood getting newborns used to warm bottles when a lot of babies will take them at first whichever way you prepare them. Bottle sterilizers too ... I guess maybe if you have well water or something that you don't trust even when hot, but for regular city water, the dishwasher works fine for me.

Posted by: StudentMom | May 9, 2007 11:48 PM | Report abuse

No need for a breast pump unless you work???

Or would like to leave the house alone for more than three hours at a time for the first six or eight months of your kid's existence.

(Yeah, yeah, to whoever is getting ready to tell me it's mean and selfish to do so, otherwise why did I have the baby, save it for another topic).

For once in a while use, the cheapie manual ones that look like an old fashioned bicycle horn work fine. Get the ones that put the milk into baggies for the freezer.

Posted by: di | May 10, 2007 1:09 AM | Report abuse

So many things are dependent on the kid -- my daughter gripped the sides of her swing in white-knuckled terror, but my friend couldn't have gotten anything done without hers. The exersaucer is the lifesaver for me. A high-quality stroller CAN be worth the money: my Maclaren weighs only 11 lbs, can be folded and unfolded with one hand, and has a built-in shoulder carry strap. Everyone I talked to went through at least 2 breast pumps until they found one they liked, so you might want to be resigned to that. But the best thing I have: my ring sling, because of the sheer versatility. Fleece slings eliminate the need for bulky snowsuits which are dangerous in car seats anyway, and make great car seat blankets. In warm weather switch to cotton or linen. All provide discretion while nursing in public, and you can carry your kid in so many different positions.

Finally, please remember before you bully anyone about their choices that you don't know the first thing about them. I had a c-section, I wasn't allowed to do stairs, my husband's work keeps him out of the house 14 hours at a time 6 days in a row, and my washer and dryer are in the basement. There goes 6 weeks of disposables. Now I need them for day care, and my kid is prone to diaper rash, making it borderline cruelty to use cloth overnight. And we realize that your kids are smarter, cuter, and just better than our kids, and therefore you are a better person than all of us, but just DON'T YOU DARE call other peoples' kids retarded because they aren't potty-trained at 1 year. Wow. I can't believe someone would think that, let alone actually SAY it.

Posted by: sarah | May 10, 2007 10:05 AM | Report abuse

EXCESS STUFFED ANIMALS: Donating them to churches, daycare, etc. is a great idea. Another option is to contact your local police or fire department (use the non-emergency number), or county social services, and find out if they have a program in which stuffed animals can be used to comfort children in emergency situations. It's another nice way to give back to your community.

Posted by: FrauRabbit | May 10, 2007 10:16 AM | Report abuse

I would classify anything used to "cover provate parts during diaper changes" as utterly unnecessary.

Posted by: They're babies! | May 9, 2007 11:06 AM

You have obviously never changed a boy. Take a few shots of baby pee in the eye before you make more commentary, please.

Everyone should be way more sparing with their criticism of various products and techniques. Every kid and every family situation is different.

What you find wasteful might be the very thing that buys somebody else some extra sleep or non-crying time. If some $50 bean bag bought me sleep through the night, it'd be a bargain.

Posted by: Bob | May 10, 2007 4:35 PM | Report abuse

Okay, I'll admit that it has been a very long time since I took care of a baby. But I do seem to remember that I never once used a disposable wipe to clean my baby's butt. Heck, I don't even think they were in existence then. I used a washcloth dipped in warm water. If we went someplace, I placed a damp cloth in a plastic bag. The cloth rinsed out easily, was washable, and reuseable. If his skin became dry, I put a little baby lotion or oil on it. That's it. Why do moms today feel that they have to shell out money for something that's very close to free?

Posted by: Black Cat Zorro | May 15, 2007 3:09 PM | Report abuse

I just looked up babybeready on google so that I could find their website. I have purchased many of their bags for my female friends and am wondering why this article says it is too much money. It comes with 10 items inside. I think it is well worth the money. I also think this article was written to cause lots of arguments. How can one person say what is right or wrong for different people?

Posted by: Maxwell Shore | May 16, 2007 12:39 AM | Report abuse

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