Baby products you simply don’t need


A friend recently sent me a Reader’s Digest article about baby products that are a waste of money (thanks, Irene!).  I agreed with every one of them, and it got me thinking that the list wasn’t exhaustive enough.  Thus, I’m posting the list here, as well as adding my own additions to it.  Right now I have at least half a dozen friends who are pregnant (three with their first children), so this is for you guys (or I should say gals)!

Reader’s Digest list:

1. Diaper Genie – You have to buy specific brand trash bag refills for this.  I used a Diaper Champ that allows you to use regular medium trash bags.  I used it a little while for Eliza, and then realized that no matter what you do to mask the smell, you just have to get diapers out of the house on a daily basis.  My kitchen trash can became the receptacle for all diapers.

2. Pee pee Tee Pees – Sure, Zach peed on the wall and on me a few times while getting changed, but you can just keep the dirty diaper over a boy’s anatomy while you change him and quickly recover the area with the new diaper.

3. bottle sanitizer

4. bottle warmer

5. wipe warmer

6. baby powder

7. diaper caddy

8. receiving blankets – I would recommend Aden + Anais swaddling blankets,

9. hand mittens – My lactation consultant chastised me for ever putting these on Eliza, saying a newborn only has so many ways to learn about the world, and one of them is touch)

10. baby food processor (I have another post about the Beaba)

11. baby video monitor – You don’t NEED to see your baby while he sleeps.  An audio monitor will suffice.  If you WANT to, that’s a different thing entirely.

12. Baby Einstein DVDs

13. shopping cart cover – You bring the cover home, which now has all those germs on it anyway.

And now, my additions …

14. a portable crib with any bells and whistles – the one I got was $170 because it had a changing station attached to it, a music player, a vibration machine … and I never needed any of those things.  I’ll say it a million times: you want your kids to learn to fall asleep without help, so getting in the habit of putting them down with sleep crutches is just dumb.  (My disclaimer here is I’ve never had a child with colic, so I’m sure if I did I would be willing to try anything.)

15. crib or bedroom ambiance toys – ocean wonders, noise makers, etc. all become sleep crutches.  It depends on you if you want to have to travel with these things for life.

16. special detergent – find a scent-free detergent you can use for the whole family and be done with it.

17. backseat mirror for the car – they’re safety hazards because they can cause accidents (because they distract you) and in an accident they can become airborne weapons.

18. car seat head supports – unless you have a preemie or your baby is underweight for your car seat and your pediatrician recommends this, you do not need it.

19. sleep positioners – aside from them being ridiculous to begin with, recent research has warned they are safety hazards.

20. Special stroller organizers or umbrellas – Honestly, marketers will try to sell you ANYTHING …

21. strap covers for car seats or strollers – My opinion is car seat makers have to meet strict standards to keep your kids safe.  Why add anything unnecessary to such a piece of equipment?  My kids are perfectly comfortable in their seats without these.

Stay tuned for a list that’s just the OPPOSITE – all the things you just can’t live without!  And I’m curious if you have any baby products you got that you found to be useless.

10 physical feats I didn’t know I was capable of until I became a mom.


1.  Natural child-birth. It turns out that if your baby takes fewer than two hours to come out, it’s really not that bad because you don’t have any time to think about the pain (or get the anesthesiologist).

2.  Carrying the equivalent of a 40 pound bag of dog food up and down stairs multiple times a day. Eliza weighs 25 pounds, Zach weighs 18, and yes, I carry them at the same time despite how dangerous it seems every time I do it.

3.  Tuning out sounds while awake. I often don’t hear Eliza the first 14 times she calls my name, but the 15th often reaches my inner ear.

4.  Hearing everything when trying to sleep. Conversely, I didn’t know I could sleep so lightly that my child’s cough, sneeze, or even sigh wakes me up.

5.  Skipping meals cluelessly.  Yes, I’ve skipped meals before, but normally it’s because I think about eating and just can’t manage to pull myself away from an activity.  Until I had kids, I never skipped meals without knowing it.

6.  Sleep deprivation. I had no idea I could function on the equivalent of 5 or 6 non-consecutive hours of sleep a day for weeks and even months on end.  The Army has conducted multiple sleep studies, and has found that we shouldn’t go more than three straight weeks on five hours a night without expecting a loss of brain function.  Now I know why I feel so dumb and forgetful.

7.  Pinching off diarrhea to finish at a later time.  That’s all I’m going to say about that.

8.  Going five days without washing my hair. In my defense, Greg was out-of-town and I had been to the salon, so it was “styled” that whole time.  I know people who have completed outward bound or hiked the Appalachian Trail have probably done this, but that doesn’t count because that’s outside of living in “society.”

9.  Cooking, holding a baby, talking on the phone, and watching a toddler all at once. Becoming a mom has truly changed my definition of multi-tasking.

10.  Pumping hundreds of hours and in random places. I’m not only a member of the mile-high pumping club, but I’ve pumped countless times in the car (sometimes while in motion, other times in parking lots).  I’ve pumped in the bathrooms at wedding receptions, ski resorts, and even a black tie award event for my husband.

I’m curious to know what you have done that’s tested your physical abilities since becoming a mom.

Nor can I go #2.


Toddlers know exactly when you are unavailable. It’s like they have innate radar that alerts them to do something naughty when you’re at your most vulnerable. How are they so smart?

This morning while pumping (clearly a case when I’m not able to jump at the drop of a hat), Eliza managed to find the small shells I had hidden from her in the bathroom drawer and do – I can only imagine what – with. I have found two of the five, and the other three? I honestly would not be surprised to find them come out the other end in her diaper tomorrow.

Which leads me to poop. Here’s another example of her craftiness, fresh from this morning. I sat Eliza down at the dining room table with her oatmeal, set Zach on his play mat in such a way that if he rolled 3 times in any direction he’d be relatively safe, and took the moment to head to the bathroom. Of course, tonight I’m supposed to make a French side dish for a fun girls dinner party, so I grabbed my “Art of French Cooking” masterpiece and sat for what I hoped would be 4 or 5 uninterrupted minutes to flip through the vegetable chapter. Not so. One of Eliza’s current annoying habits is calling my name over and over and over until I respond. I chose to ignore it (again, if she doesn’t get what she wants, which is a response, perhaps she’ll stop), but after about 25-30 “MAAAAAAA-MEEEEEEs” I finally got up and went to look. She had punished me. Her oatmeal was everywhere – on her clothes, the rug under her, her cloth-padded chair – and she was standing up in a pretty precariously dangerous position. She then proceeded to require me to feed her, probably because I started Zach on solid foods yesterday and she wants the attention.

The point is that I have to start giving her more credit than I do, and I must begin anticipating her antics. Both of these situations, at least to some extent, were avoidable. I have a child lock on the bathroom doorknob, but I had failed to close the door before sitting down to pump. Likewise, Eliza has this week decided to refuse sitting in her high chair anymore. It’s a timely choice because I now need it for Zach, but the only alternative we currently have is for her to sit in the Bumbo on a dining room chair. It’s not safe, for one, and she can’t be strapped. She’s also not tall enough to reach her food easily, which is part of why she threw the oatmeal everywhere. (Thank goodness we have the dog. In fact, I’m sure I will complain inexorably about Abbey, our mutt, so this is a good time to remember why I keep her around.) So I could have asked Greg, my husband, to sit with her and help her eat while I went to the bathroom, or I could have brought her to the bathroom with me before sitting her down to eat. Or I could somehow make the time to get to the store for a proper booster seat.

Part of being the parent of a toddler is accepting a lack of control. Things are going to get messy and that’s part of the fun. But another part is realizing she is learning how the world works, and because I already know the answers to that, I can prevent a lot of frustration. The best offense is a good defense, right? Eliza might have stealth radar, but I have the atom bomb.