Babies are big business.
Baby food and formula alone are worth over $30 billion, and the nappy industry is estimated to be worth another $27 billion.
Globally, birth rates are decreasing, but the baby market continues to expand in size.
Expectant parents fork out thousands of dollars in preparation for their baby’s arrival.
Baby clothes, side-sleepers, nappies, breastfeeding aids – it all adds up.
10 ‘Must Have’ Baby Products That Are A Waste Of Money
During your pregnancy, your social media timeline will be filled with adverts for ‘must-have’ baby products.
Your friends will be keen to tell you which items you ‘simply need to have’.
Glossy adverts in pregnancy magazines will market even more products to you. There’s no escaping them.
And you can be forgiven for thinking you really do need those things. After all, it’s not like the human race existed before capitalism came along and commercialised family life … oh, wait.
So, to save you some money – and some space in your house, because nobody needs a pile of unused baby-related rubbish in the corner of the nursery – here are 10 so-called ‘must have’ baby products that will probably turn out to be a waste of money:
#1: Baby Wipe Warmer
I know, your baby’s butt is probably the most precious butt in the whole world, but you really don’t need to invest in a wipe warmer.
Unless you’re storing your baby wipes in the freezer (don’t do this), they really won’t be too cold for your baby’s skin.
If you’re looking for an economical way to protect your baby’s beautiful behind, invest in some washable wipes. These cloth wipes will last for years and can simply go in the washing machine between uses. If you really want to avoid cold wipes, simply use a little warm water with them.
#2: A Baby Seat
You might have seen those plastic seats that force your baby into a sitting position before she has developed the muscle strength and control to hold herself up.
They have become standard baby kit, and many family homes and baby groups now have them. You don’t need one.
Your baby doesn’t need to sit up before she’s ready and there have been a number of accidents associated with their use.
#3: Baby Talcum Powder
Once a household staple, this product is now in decline. It was traditionally used as a quick way of drying a baby’s skin after a nappy change or bath.
The use of talcum powder has been linked with ovarian cancer, although the connection hasn’t been proved conclusively.
You can read more about this in Baby Powder – Is It Safe To Use?.
Many people now choose to skip this product, just in case. If something isn’t definitely proved safe, do you really want to put it on the skin of your newborn baby? Probably not.
#4: Baby Gloves And Socks
These are a total waste of money. They will get lost as soon as you put them on, you’ll never be able to find a matching pair, and they will provide little benefit to your life.
Instead, opt for sleepsuits that have a built-in mitten fold, allowing you to encase your baby’s hands to stop accidental scratching during the early weeks. These can’t work loose or get lost and you’ll save yourself the hassle of endlessly retracing your steps in an attempt to find a missing glove.
Baby socks are equally useless. They will fall off moments after you leave the house and you’ll never see them again. Instead, dress your baby in a sleepsuit or, if she’s wearing pants, stick a pair of tights underneath if it’s cold.
#5: Baby Food Blender
You know how it is. When you’re planning a wedding, everything suddenly doubles in price. Well, the same is true when you have a baby.
You don’t need a baby food blender. If you want to blend something, a normal blender will do just as good a job.
Even better, skip the purees and go straight for baby led weaning.There’s no need to spend a fortune preparing special food for your baby to eat; most of the time, she can eat the same food as you do (minus the salt).
Find out more in Baby Led Weaning – What Is It And Should I Be Doing It?.
#6: Expensive Rockers And Swings
Silence is golden and new parents will spend an absolute fortune trying to achieve it. There are expensive seats that mimic the rocking motions of life in the womb, vibrating swings that lull your baby to sleep, and all kinds of assorted contraptions that promise parents a break.
Newborn babies often cry when they aren’t being held. This can be really tough when you are new parents, especially when there are so many other things you need to do.
Sometimes all a newborn baby wants is to be held, and it’s hard to do that all the time.
A sling is a relatively cheap way of achieving the same result. Your baby will be content snuggled up against you and you’ll have your hands free.
And don’t worry, it doesn’t last long. You won’t have to be dragging an eight-year-old around in your arms while you try to make dinner in the future. Newborns are just a little clingy, but it will pass.
#7: Bottles And Formula ‘Just In Case’
There is absolutely no need to spend money on these things ‘just in case’. If you’re planning to breastfeed, save yourself some money and don’t bother purchasing any formula feeding accessories.
If you decide not to breastfeed and want to formula feed instead, you can always nip out and buy those things when necessary. The world isn’t going to run out of baby bottles and formula milk.
In fact, having those things in the house could act as a barrier to establishing breastfeeding. If you manage to continue breastfeeding, you’ll have saved yourself some money by not investing in unnecessary bottles, sterilisers and formula.
#8: Baby Shoes
No. Just, no. They look cute but they are completely pointless. Your baby doesn’t need shoes. She probably won’t start to walk until her first birthday, so there’s no point buying overpriced baby shoes.
Your baby’s feet will be much happier without shoes, especially considering how much they grow during those early months of life.
When your baby is old enough to walk outside, you can spend as much money as you like on tiny trainers, adorable boots and party shoes but, for now, save yourself the money and keep her barefoot.
#9: Baby Walker
We seem to have an obsession with hurrying babies through infancy. Baby walkers are walking aids to help non-walkers walk. They are, essentially, pointless.
Walkers will not teach your baby how to walk. Your baby is more than capable of figuring out how to walk all by herself. Babies were learning to walk long before plastic baby walkers were invented.
In fact, baby walkers can be dangerous because they allow your baby to do something she isn’t really ready for.
Walkers allow babies to move further and faster than they would naturally be able to, and this puts them at an increased risk of danger.
Some countries, such as Canada, have banned the sale of baby walkers because they cause so many accidents involving young children.
#10: Hooded Baby Towels
A towel is a towel, right? There is no reason why your baby needs a special baby towel complete with hood. Your baby will outgrow that tiny square of towel in a matter of weeks and then it will be completely useless.
A standard family towel is more than adequate for your baby. Trust me, she won’t care if it doesn’t have a hood. She doesn’t even know what a hood is.