Thursday, August 13, 2009

5 baby products you don't need (and why would you want them anyway?)

In the seven years that I've been in business, one of the things I'm proud of is that my vision has never altered in terms of the products we sell. If you've never been to the store, we have a great selection of cloth diapers, slings, and breastfeeding essentials. Over the years, our offerings have expanded to offer more choice, however, we have managed to steer clear of the increasing number of baby gadgets that are available these days. So here it is, my list of things you probably don't need.

1) Babysafe Feeder. So the gist of this product is that you put baby's food in a mesh bag, so junior can suck on it safely. Mmmmm, tasty! Would you like to eat your food like this? Read their "Why?" page, and most first-time parents will likely run out and buy one (holy scare tactics!). When you are introducing solids to your baby, use common sense and supervision. Your parents didn't have the Babysafe Feeder, and you turned out OK, right?

2) Dunston Baby Language DVD collection. Is this for real? Seriously? Interpret your baby's secret language of crying? I saw this on Oprah Winfrey and just about peed my pants, I'm not sure what was funnier, the concept, or Oprah's wide-eyed reaction (she has no kids, remember?). Then I was contacted by a sales rep to see if we'd be interested in selling it, and I laughed so hard I almost choked on my tongue (hmm, perhaps I could have used a Babysafe Feeder after all!). Spend a little time with your baby, and you'll eventually figure him out. There is no 'secret language of crying', save yourself the $50 and pass on this nonsense.

3) Pee-pee Teepee and other variations thereof. So you're changing your baby, and he keeps peeing on you. What's a gal to do? Simple, put a tiny little triangle of fabric (a teepee, get it?) on top of his penis, and voila, problem solved. Except junior's powerful stream of urine would knock that puppy off before you can say "What a dumb idea", assuming it didn't fall off as soon as junior kicked his legs (babies move, ya know?). If your baby is constantly peeing when you change him, just potty him!

4) Stretchmark cream. Any brand. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but there's pretty much nothing you can do to prevent stretchmarks. It's genetic. Take a peak at your mother's belly. No stretchmarks? Well, you're likely in the clear. Of course, I didn't know better when I was pregnant with #1 and I oiled myself up before bed like a WWF wrestler (I'm dating myself here), and guess what? I still got 'em! Maybe the cream will make your belly feel better, but don't count on it to prevent stretchmarks. FYI, I also exercised my ass off and drank liters of water everyday, and it got me nowhere. I'm not going to tell you to wear them like a 'badge of honor', but I will tell you they fade over time, and I mean come on, did you really think you were going to start a swimsuit modelling career after you had the baby? Is it really that big of a deal if you get stretchmarks? You will get over it, trust me.

5) Change tables in general. This is a complete waste of money and floorspace. You will not haul ass to the nursery every time you need to change junior. Just get yourself a little folding change pad or two, and keep them handy where you tend to spend most or your day -- ie, in the TV room or kitchen. This is far more practical. We have a change table in the nursery, although a more accurate name would be "the spot where I pile all the baby crap I never use" table. Right now, it's full of winter pyjamas and toys. Yes, clearly, I win the most-organized-mother-of-the-year title, but lay off me, I've got 4 kids and I'm self-employed, I've earned the right to be disorganized!

So what about you? Have you bought anything only to find out it was a waste of money? Let us know! Perhaps you can prevent someone from making the same mistake. I'll pick a comment and you will receive your choice of laundry detergent, on the house. Comments submitted before August 17th are eligible.


  1. Another big waste of money is those bedding sets. The ones that come with a comforter, bumper pads, a pillow, sheets, bedskirt, etc, etc. First of all they look pretty because everything matches but they tell you not to use bumper pads to prevent SIDS, not to use a pillow (for obvious reasons- why would an infant need a pillow in the first place?), and not to use a comforter because the baby can potentially suffocate. so in the end that leaves you a set of sheets and a bed skirt. the amount of times you need to change your babies bedding who has time to fiddle around wiht a bedskirt? save yourself some money and buy a couple of crib sheets and youre set.

  2. We have the mesh feeder, but don't use it for food. We fill it with ice chips, and it is one of our son's favorite things when he is teething. One of those things we thought outside the box on and found a use for.

    I agree on the change table! We bought an old dresser at the Great Glebe Garage sale - the right size for a change pad on top. Way more useful as a $20 dresser! I think my mom used it more for changing the baby then we did.

    One thing that was half useless is the baby care kits with comb, nail files, brush, clippers, useless thermometre (it doesn't beep when it is done ready, but flashes!), etc. All we really use is the nail clippers. We could have saved money by just buying those, and leaving the rest.

  3. My vote is for the pre-cut swaddle blankets. It took me longer to figure out how to get it to "work" than it did to just wrap my kid into a baby burrito out of a receiving blanket. Stick to the good old fashioned blankets, if swaddling works for you!

  4. Hmmm biggest waste of money? How to pick just one. We sent 3 car loads of baby gear to the Salvation Army when my second daughter was born. Probably my biggest waste of money would be a bassinet (I actually had 2). My daughter hated them and grew out of them in length before she did in weight so It was over $200 for something that lasted us no more than 3 months! For my second baby we used a playpen bassinet when she was in our room and the bonus is that when she got too heavy for the playpen bassinet we could remove it and still use the playpen.

  5. I agree completely about the peepee teepees. I got a set as a shower gift and tried them once. Instant fail - my kid moves!

    And like a PP, I bought an old dresser, and threw a change pad on top of it. Perfect! Since we live in a small apartment, I DO go to his room to change him - it's actually easier and faster than setting up a change pad elsewhere - I use the dresser to store his clothes, with the top drawer set aside for diapering stuffs. A change table with no real storage would be a total waste of space.

    I sort of disagree with another PP though - I loved my bebabean swaddler, but it didn't have all the clasps and velcro that I've seen on some of them - just a lovely and exquisitely soft bamboo triangle.

    But the most useless thing by cost I received was by far the Bumbo. My kid was *not* happy to be shoved into a chair and expected to be content just with sitting. He much preferred to be lying on the ground, able to reach multiple toys and to move around. We tried it twice, then gave up entirely and sold it for $5 because I felt guilty taking any more for something so totally useless if you have an active kid.

  6. I have to disagree on the change table. I have a not-so great back and kneeling down on the floor or to bed level is not comfortable for me. I also use my change table to store all his cloth diapers and accessories... BUT I do agree that a dresser with a pad on top is just as useful. :)

  7. Socks!

    Seriously, those little tiny infant socks (0-3 months) just wiggle off any way. And if your baby is born in the summer they don't need them. If the baby is born in the winter, they'll be wearing one-piece things that cover their feet.

    Now, while socks may not be a necessary BABY item, they are certainly very useful for the PARENTS. Especially the 8 months pregnant mom who needs a little extra motivation in 31* heat and humidity. They just blow the top off of the cute-o-meter.

  8. Such a great post!!
    I totally agree about the Bumbo!! Complete waste. Thankfully we didn't actually spend the $60 on it, we won it as a prize at the K-W baby and toddler show last year.
    We also found the swing we had wasteful. It was borrowed, but took up so much space in our living room. Our daughter did not enjoy being swung by a machine. She much preferred being held in our arms. I just wish I looked into babywearing more when she was really little. A sling would have been so much more practical than a swing!!

  9. I'd have to say I wasted the most money on baby toys. I bought all kinds of fun, intersting, attractive toys, and my little one prefers simple basic toys, like stacking cups... and tupperware and stainless steel measuring spoons.

    I also agree with the mesh feeder - we tried it with fruit, we tried it with ice... My daughter just won't use it. And I find it horrible to clean...

    I disagree with the change table - I live in a small bungalow and do most diaper changes at the change table (a dresser with pad on top... I do think dedicated change tables are a waste of space) since everything is there and I find it a bit easier to contain my little mover on the change table than it is on the floor.

  10. Hi there!

    I must say that for us it was the "Diaper Genie" that was a big waste of money. My husband was a little scared of cloth diapers so we settled to use disposable diapers for the first month with our first daughter.

    That thing isn't super expensive on its own (although you need to refill it with new bags), but it's hard to wrap my mind around why it is so needed in the first place.

    In the end we quickly realized that using a regular trash bag was as good, plus we didn't have to fiddle with the blue bag cartridges (and keep on buying them). Infant diapers don't smell that much anyway... it's funny how some products are advertised as almost being essential until you figure it out for yourself.

    Then we discovered your store and cloth diapers :)

  11. I agree with most of the "$ wasters" There are soo many!
    I will admit to buying one of those 'crib sets' when I was due w baby #1. It was a three piece set (fitted sheet, bumper and comforter). I also bought it on sale (if that makes things better). The comforter was only used before my baby was born. It doesn't even fit as a blanket (once Baby is old enough!) It just fits the crib when it is laying flat. I liked the crib skirt but it was a total pain in the keyster.
    Our family did buy a change table for storing our basket of cloth diapers. It was the basic model and, while I didn't use it all day, I did find it quite useful for the morning change, after bathtime and anytime I was upstairs w baby. We used this bad boy until our second child outgrew it. By then it had lived it's life! The best was when we moved it into our oversized upstairs family bathroom. That made it easy to change baby #2 while big brother was on the potty!
    I would have to say that the biggest waste of $ I never bought are those disposable diaper 'genie' things. Let's take something that will never biodegrade and sausage wrap it in someting else that will never biodegrade. Oh yeah and man are they pricey!
    One of my best friends said it best "when you are expecting your first baby you shop in baby departments and think wow look at all the stuff I still need to buy for Baby!. When you get ready to expand the family again, you stroll through those now familiar aisles and think wow, look at all the crap I don't need!"
    The silliest thing I have ever seen for sale was a baby bottle that simply looked like a small silicone breast with a screw on back. I saw it at a baby store and had to pick it up to peek. The nipple portion looks like any other baby bottle. How are you supposed to hold this thing? Who buys this?
    I could go on and on about the silly baby and kid gadgets out there!
    The important thing isn't what we buy for our children it is all tjose other things we do for them that make parenting priceless!

  12. firstly my boyfriend bought a "bottle cozy" for the glass bottles - its rubber and makes it less slippery, turns out it was a pain to stretch over and who really has time to fiddle with something when the baby is screaming for food? i think i can hold the bottle pretty well afterall i know how my fingers work!

    bought the mesh bag, tried ice he doesn't like it thus far but maybe he'll be more inclined to suck on it once he starts teething?!

    medela single mini electric breast pump? i think thats what its called- the electric part of it worked fine but it was so noisy my cat would run away and hide and the baby would startle and scream and the manual thing didn't do squat i paid 149.99 for crap!

    i agreee on the socks, gah i hate baby socks no matter how cute they are!

    scratch mittens - now i dont know about the rest of you but my 3 day old baby could get these off after 5 seconds and even tight socks wouldn't suffice. DON'T BUY THESE AHHH plus they would come off and fall on his face of which he didnt know how to move yet! so basically not safe for bebe!

    funtime froggy bath center - spent 30 bucks, his first and 2nd bath were in the "sling" that attaches over top he screamed so hard from being so cold because he had no water/warmth around him i stopped using it - we've been co-bathing ever since and its a much more fun time and bonding experience with him in the big bath...later tried to bathe him in the actual bath that comes with the froggy sling - his but slid left to right, left to right, and im not a genious but they say to keep one hand on baby at all times and it takes 2 just to make sure his but doesn't slide over and fall in the side so what's left to get the soap and lather him? my toes that's it!! i gave up and sat him in my lap - knees up in the bathtub - all in all if you dont mind getting in the bath with the baby its much easier and he'll be warmer and happier for you doing so!

  13. I agree with most of what has been said... my baby's legs were far too chunky for the bumbo (they turned purple, not something a mom wants to see). we had a change area when she was little but now it's the bed... I am much too scared to try to change a squirming baby that high up.

    For us though, the biggest wastes have been the crib & stroller, considered essential by most. DD co-sleeps & is in a carrier for outings. The stroller is good for grandmas & will be useful later, but we didn't need the state-of-the-art one we have. And the cribs is, well, a storage container... if I could get her to nap in it I would though.

  14. Shoes for children too young to walk - even those cute little leather ones size 0-6 months. I mean, really? I had about half a dozen pairs and none of them were used even once. The crib too - just a storage bin, which I sold. I'll not be getting another (obviously!) for the baby on her way!

  15. Breastfeeding covers.. these are WAY overpriced if you ask me! If you're the type who wants some privacy, just tie the corner of a receiving blanket to your bra strap, and voila! It's a breastfeeding cover! You can even tie it to both sides of your bra if you want a little "window" to see what you're doing. Easy and cheap.
    (better yet, forego the modesty and don't use one at all! Faster and you and your little one won't sweat as much)

  16. The comments here made me laugh as I currently have a changing table downstairs that is covered with unused baby socks and an old bumbo! Most of our old baby socks have been put to use as foot covers for all of the furniture to protect the hardwood floors. For me the biggest waste was a baby tub. We got two at the shower and I never ONCE used either one. I co-bathed until he was old enough to sit up and now I just wash him in the kitchen sink. It's way easier to not have to bend over!

  17. Wipe warmer. Seriously. Why?

    Also, my MIL had bought us a playpen. We used it as a bulky toy holder for months until I finally put it away. My kids have never sat in it. I guess they call it a "play-yard" nowadays. Being in the "pen" sounded too much like jail?

    Also, someone bought my daughter a pair of gold hoop earrings when she was born. I'm not so much into ear mutilation.... I wonder where those hoops are.

    Melissa F

  18. We live in an apartment in downtown Seoul, Korea and found the graco swing completely useless. The kid would rather be held or laying on the floor ~ and it's a huge waste of space that is already hard to come by here!

    We never bought a change table, and I wouldn't want to. We either use the bed, or we have a fold up mattress in the kid's room with a change pad on it.

    I disagree with geekwithstyle though ~ I LOVE my nursing cover! I have one from baby beean and it's amazing! the top has double boning so I can see the little guy handsfree, and the sides are wide and give great coverage (

  19. While I would agree that a changing table in the nursery was useless, once we moved it to the bathroom, it was the best. We use each diaper change as an opportunity to potty, and for huge poops, the faucet is right there to wash off our baby. Plus, I'm a bit of a neat freak and I like being able to take instant stock of my diapers by looking at the stack of prefolds, etc.

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