10 Things You DON'T Need For A New Baby

I remember registering for my first baby before he was born.  I went to a giant baby warehouse store  with a HUGE corporate list of things that I "needed" for this new little one and obediently registered.  

And then he came.

The crib sat in the corner, the swing hung empty, and the tub wouldn't fit in my shower.

Sometimes I think groups of childless men sit around shining wood tables and literally make stuff up that new babies "need" for survival just so that they can make money.  Seems like a good idea, but for the first time mom, I think it just tends to stress us out when we should be enjoying a pretty awesome time in life.

So ladies, here are a few things that you don't need for your new baby. 

1)  The wipe warmer- Possibly the silliest baby necessity ever invented.  I am pretty sure that cave man babies survived without the warmer.  Oh wait....cave men are EXTINCT!  Maybe we do need this!

They can be nice for some people (some cloth diaper mamas keep their cloth wipes moist inside) but certainly not a need.

2)  The layette- I have had kids for seven years and I still don't know what this is.  So...I am pretty sure it isn't a necessity.

3)  The crib- (This isn't an anti-crib rant, so don't get riled up.)  It kind of makes me sad when a young new family with limited resources stresses unnecessarily over the need for a crib.  I actually do think  it is NICE to have a space for the baby to sleep, especially during nap-times, and at ANY time if you don't co-sleep.  But this doesn't have to be an expensive crib.  Some people use a Pack n Play (many are safe for sleeping in) which is smaller, cheaper, and easier to move if money and space are an issue.  Some people just have the baby in their bed (free of all sheets and pillows, of course) with an attachable guard rail, a bassinet, a cradle or whatever is safe and fits.

4)  That diaper Genie- Seriously?  The diapers still smell, even in that thing.  I am being for real.  If I am doing disposables then I just throw them in the regular trash , but little baby poop doesn't really stink.  If I am doing cloth, then you DO need a diaper bin, but I just use a big plastic pail.  You can get them for a few bucks or use an old one from Costco laundry soap. 

5)  Swings, bouncers, chairs, and what not-  I can't hold my baby all day long so it is really helpful to have SOMETHING to put your baby in when you need to put them down.  The thing is, you probably don't need all of them.  Plus, in my experience, all babies don't like all of them.  I had a baby that loved the swing and another that screamed bloody murder every time he came near it.  These are not universally loved by all babies.  Often, somebody whose baby is a little older is willing (dare I say desperate?) to give away theirs so that they can free up some space in their home.  If you get something free, you just don't feel as bad when you never use it. 

6)  Expensive breast pumps-  A necessity for sure if you are going back to work and are planning on pumping when the baby is young.  These are not however needed for every mom out there, even though they are promoted like every mom needs one.  Often a hand pump will be plenty for a stay at home mom who doesn't need to pump four times a day to keep up her supply.  But even if you are going back to work but not for a year or so, then you don't necessarily need one. 

7) The baby bath tub- We were in a tiny apartment when I had my first and the big tub wouldn't even fit in my shower.  Instead we showered with the baby.  (Showering with a baby does work better if you have two people.)  My newest baby gets bathed in the kitchen sink.  YES, I clean it well before and after.  It is just the right size for a little one.  Baby tub= not necessary.

8)  Baby shoes- Babies actually don't walk.  This does come later, but until then, they don't need a large array of shoes.  I have a secret about this one too.

Baby shoes don't even stay on baby feet.

They can't walk but they can remove shoes by about three weeks.  Don't tell anybody that I was the one who let that one out of the bag.

9)  A themed nursery- I feel like I am having an out of body experience when I walk into a big box baby store and see the walls lined with perfectly matched cribs, gliders (not rockers, those are capitol "L" lame), wallpaper, sheets, lamps, rugs, and what not.  Babies CAN see at birth, but only for about 12 inches.  They will not care if the wallpaper matches the pillow sham.  I have never even had a bedroom that nice.  So, maybe I am just jealous...

10)  Rounding off the 10 with a few I have never had or used- baby monitors (never had that big of a house), socks (they disappear with the shoes), pacifiers (shouldn't even be introduced until 6 weeks), and Baby Einstein videos (don't even get me started on baby TV!)

(Lest you get offended, I know that some women might need some of these items or even just WANT some of them, in which case, GO NUTS and enjoy your baby shopping!  I wasn't trying to hurt your feelings.  And I actually do know what a layette is.  I was kidding.)


Aislynn said…
I still don't know what a layette is! Not kidding! I totally agree with your list...I tried to convince my husband we could have a third on our tiny budget by telling him all a baby REALLY needs are the diapers we already have, boobs which I've got in stock, and a few swaddling blankets. He was unamused.
Sara said…
I didn't even go all out for the first, and for the second we're going even lower-key. I already have a bunch of cloth diapers. Sure the infant seat has a big flower on it, but I don't think the baby boy will care much. Our daughter hated the swing, but my mom bought one second-hand from a friend who is moving, so I guess we'll try it again.

When people asked what we need, we truthfully told them money and whole foods gift cards. And that's mostly what we got! It's great. Unfortunately one well-meaning friend bought us 2 large unfinished bookcases....one shaped like a dollhouse and another like a barn, and I'm stressing out over what to do with them. It's nice to not feel like we need all of the baby gear!
Lucy said…
My parents helped us out an bought a BEAUTIFUL crib(not used cuz we cosleep but will be soon), a small portable swing and highchair, all used from Craigslist for about $200. Alot of stuff isnt needed but that swing has been a life saver for sure!
I got every thing free/hand me downs for first child except cloth diapers, I bought those. My secret is I took most of the stuff back to the store (i only registered I walmart and target) and got wipes and paper diapers instead I already had so oooooo many clothes! I also only buy store brand diapers because they are only used part of the day when im at work and we keep them in the diaper bag. So I sent the brand names back to the store too. You can some times get two boxes of store brand for one box if brand name. With my second we did hand me downs and a friend gave me a huge garbage bag of cloth diapers and liners she got of ebay best gift EVER.
Anonymous said…
Seriously...after 3 kids...what the heck is a "layette"???? I dont think I ever had one, cuz I don't know what it is. By the third homebirth baby, his "room" was a litte area in our room that held his clothes and blankets. He slept with us, showered with me, breastfed. All the "stuff" I felt I needed with my first was just a waste. :0) Great article...I"m hoping some first time moms see it and save some of their money instead of wasting it on stuff they don't really need. :0)
Holly Wilson said…
With my first webskipped the socks and shoes (July baby), but my son was born in December so we use the (hand-me-down) socks and shoes just to keep his feet warm. Hint: if you get the baby shoes that tie and tie them tight enough, they keep the socks on. That's why we use them.
I also love the baby chair that converts into a toddler rocking chair. I shower with my son who is 10 weeks old. First I do my part of the shower while he chills in his chair. Then I grab him,m do his part, and lay him back on the chair, wrapped in his towel while I dry off and get dressed.
Katie said…
baby shoes/socks: I use Robeez-style shoes to keep socks on their feet, and have found that (so far) that's all my kids need til they're romping on hard surfaces regularly - 2-2.5, maybe?
Emma's Lunch said…
Baby monitor a total must! Unless you plan to go to bed same time as baby every night. Definitely hard to hear when the bedrooms are upstairs. With a monitor, at first moan you could be upstairs soothing. Otherwise, by the time you hear those loud cries, baby's already distressed.

Emma's Lunch
abi said…
Ive just looked on google what a layette is, its an American word for a set of baby clothes. I think these are needed lol, why cant people just say baby clothes! lol x
Cassidy Cay said…
I agree completely. My sweet step sister dressed her baby (born June in Texas) in shoes and jeans and sweater vests. I always felt so sorry for the little booger. Baby shoes seem quite pointless to me. Though, we did buy a pair of moccasins for our daughter, more so to honor her heritage. Plus they are soft soled.
Mandyz said…
I whole-heartedly concur! I've no idea where people find space for all this stuff - let alone money. I very explicitly tell my friends and family what I do and do-not need/want. I also strongly encourage second-hand gifts. I love when folks proudly proclaim a gift is second-hand - I feel I've inspired them to new heights :)

(PS - there are great handknit patterns for socks and warm booties that actually stay on. And I still swear by Robeez for keeping socks on. Second-hand of course.)
Unknown said…
You need to add changing tables in there. It's much easier to change the baby on the floor or bed. Especially when they get big enough to try to wiggle out of or crawl away from the diaper.
AmberLou said…
My 3rd baby is 6 months old, and she is the only baby at church wearing one piece pajama looking things, because I hate baby shoes! I don't have a problem with baby dresses, but it is cold, so then thy need baby tights, and baby tights are waaaay too big for baby legs, so they look stupid without shoes... I've been asked repeatedly why my baby doesn't wear dresses to church. Kinda weird. Also, I always feel sorry for little babies wearing jeans :(
Mama Birth said…
NILA! I meant to put those om there!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Doh-
MentalMom said…
Lol. No new mother should ask me what she needs, I will take all the fun out of registering. Soft cotton clothes, diapers, car seat, a safe place for baby to be when you aren't able to hold her, maybe two. That's it. Everything else is gravy. Sure, if you have the funds, space and desire make a gorgeous nursery, I drool at pinterest too but the extras are not necessary. Baby hasn't a clue if it is wearing hand me down carters.or cashmere or if they are sleeping in a 4000 dollar handmade Amish crib or a $40 Craigslist find. Meet their needs of warmth, food, safety and love and your newborn/infant will do well.
This post needed to happen.....thank you!
Christine said…
I actually am torn on the pump thing. I still think that single electric pumps are a waste of money (which is effectively what I'm using mine as), but I ended up getting a pump anyhow because I can't manually express one-handed yet (I hear it's a skill you learn later), and my baby would NOT stop nursing. My husband was worried about hurting my wrist with a manual pump, so we went with a double electric that could convert. It made it possible in the first little bit for me to actually have bottles so I could nap or shop (can't shop with the baby - how do you try on clothes with her there?)

That being said, I still question its value. It's not nearly as efficient as manual expressing, and the one-handed value of it is somewhat negated by the fact that my daughter isn't that big on the sound.
I think lactation consultants should teach breastfeeding mothers how to hand express. Then women who cannot afford pumps wouldn't have to worry about it at all.

ALSO, I am totally in agreement with your list and the add-on of changing tables =)
I think change table can e added to the list - unless itsthereand for some silly reason I missed it - but floors, beds, tables etc work jus as good!
Tennille said…
Layettes are kits (often made up by church groups) that contain sleepers, cloth diapers, receiving blankets, etc. to be sent to third world countries. In the Lutheran Church the organization which sends them is called Lutheran World Relief. And I'm sure that there are other churches that do this as well. When I was in Sunday School we collected items for layettes and school kits a while before the shoe box program came along.
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