22 Baby Items You Don’t Need

There are way more baby items you don’t need, than do need. Baby registries, box stores, and society at large are playing tricks on us. I fell into the trap with my first child, thinking that buying stuff meant better preparation. I felt safer, seeing the new furniture, piles of baby clothes, and overall clutter. “Ah,” I thought, “now I’m a mom.”

But nothing prepares you for a baby but actual caretaking. And there are days (and I’m about to have boy #3) that I still don’t feel like a mom. Or, at least, a good one. And that’s okay. It’s better to sit and process these feelings than consume them away.  I’m saving you the heart (and wallet) ache of buying a bunch of crap you don’t need.

megan and josh welcoming newborn a
Welcoming newborn Little A

Some General Rules About Newborns and Baby Items

It’s All A Blur

The newborn stage passes in a nanosecond. The toddler years are only a couple of seconds longer. They tell me that all of childhood feels like minutes (in the scheme of things). Let’s not buy a bunch of stuff that babies will outgrow in the blink of an eye.

And the things they do need? Let’s try not to break the bank. Don’t buy a full price Gucci romper that will soon be covered in spit up and fecal matter. Or a fancy, brand-new, expensive stroller. Hand-me-downs, thrift stores, and Facebook Marketplace exist for a reason. Use ’em.

Don’t Buy Multiples

Also, babies are a tough crowd. As a rule, they’re persnickety. With Big A, we bought a bunch of the same name brand bottles. And guess what? He hated them. Every. Single. One.

The same rule applies to diapers, baby soap, pacifiers, and clothes. You may find that your baby won’t take the nipple of a certain kind of pacifier. Or maybe your baby is allergic to a certain brand of laundry soap or poly cotton blend. Don’t set yourself up for failure by having 36 duplicates of something your little critic ends up despising.

Now, onto the items that capitalism is trying to trick us with.

megan and josh welcoming newborn Big A
Welcoming newborn Big A

22 Baby Items You Don’t Need

Diaper Stuff You Don’t Need

Diaper Genie

What kind of fresh hell is this? Poopy diapers aren’t fun and having a special receptacle for them isn’t going to change that. First of all, they’re a pain to empty and clean. Second of all, this is just a ruse to get us to spend more money, as the Diaper Genie only takes a special kind of trash bag. Trash bags that are  expensive (and won’t fit in any other receptacles).

I’m not alone in this assessment. When I asked my Facebook crew about baby items that were especially wack and useless, the Diaper Genie was the number one response.

Changing Table

Speaking of diapers, changing tables are useless. Yeah, it’s fun to pick them out and they look good in Instagram photos. But the whole idea of a separate piece of furniture to change butts on? Nah.

Honestly, we usually changed on a towel-covered floor. If you absolutely must buy furniture, a dresser is a better option. Get one that is chest height and throw a changing mat on it. At least a dresser is more functional, as it can store things.

Smart Diaper with App

What?? I mean, do we really need an app to tell us when a diaper is dirty? Diapers have lines that change colors when they get wet. Or we have ears to hear cries, fingers to detect bulk, and noses to smell poop.

Wipe Warmer

I promise your baby will be fine having their butts cleaned with room temperature wipes.

Peepee Teepee

Fun to say, totally unnecessary. First, they don’t stay on. Second, just embrace getting peed on. It’s the least of your troubles.

Travel Changing Pad

Use a receiving blanket or towel.

newborn baby staring into camera
Newborn Big A was so chill

Baby Clothes, Accessories, and Toys Not to Buy for a Baby

Baby Hairbrush

I dunno, man, my babies were mostly bald the first year. And, even if they do have hair, do you care how perfectly it’s styled?

Newborn Shoes and Socks

Did y’all know that babies can’t walk? Enough said.

A Bunch of Toys

Tiny babies don’t care about toys. They’re mostly interested in caregiver’s faces. And they can only see, like, three colors. If anything, all the electronic beeps and boops are overstimulating.

Once the baby is old enough to care about toys, and if you have other children, all they’ll want is their siblings’ stuff. If the baby is an only child, you’ll find that pots, pans, and empty boxes will be more engrossing than the latest LeapFrog monstrosity.

Newborn Sized Clothes

Unless you have a small or premature baby, newborn sized clothes don’t last long. These clothes are for babies that weigh up to seven pounds. The average US newborn clocks in at seven and a half pounds. Get sizes 0-3 months instead.

Tiny Baby Bibs

Have you…have you ever seen a baby eat? It’s messy. If you’re gonna mess around with a bib, get one big enough to actually cover those cute outfits.

Crib Mobile or Hanging Toy

We want babies to sleep in their cribs, not play.

things you don't need for baby
Rare photo of newborn Little A not on a parent

Newborn Bath Items You Don’t Need

Baby Bathtub

The beauty of the kitchen sink is that it already exists in your house and it’s easier on the back. Or, you can lay a towel down in a regular bathtub, and wash the baby on it (in very shallow water).

Bath Thermometer

Yeah, we don’t want to scald babies. But temperature can be just as easily checked with an elbow.

Baby Towels (with Hoods)

Adult towels are more absorbent, anyway. Sure, hooded towels look cute in pictures. But they’ll be quickly outgrown.

Baby Robes

Cute doodads that will also be outgrown before you know it.

taking newborn Big A on a walk
Big A in the wild-note the walker in the background

Useless Baby Gadgets

Baby Food Maker

We make our own baby food, but using the blender and/or food processor we already have.

Shopping Cart Cover

Wipe the cart down or use a baby carrier. This cover just becomes a bulky annoyance in an already full diaper bag.

White Noise Machine

There are free apps on smart phones for that.

toddler and newborn baby laying on the floor

Unsafe Products to Not Buy

Bumbo And Other “Baby Holders”

This is a bit of a controversial position, as baby holders are so dang convenient. But, hear me (and actual professionals) out. Bumbo seats inhibit the natural development of infant movement milestones.

Babies need to stretch, move naturally, and learn about their bodies. And placing them in seats and holders prohibits this. Tummy time will do more for baby’s milestones than a fancy seat or holder. Even baby carriers can promote hip dysplasia. Of course, sometimes you need to take a shower or do the dishes. Just use baby holders judiciously.

Baby Powder

Studies are inconclusive about talc powder causing cancer, but it’s definitely not a good thing to be breathing in. Especially for babies. If you must use powder, get talc-free varieties.

Fancy Crib Bedding Set

Safe sleep practice dictates that there should be nothing in the crib. No blankets, pillows, and definitely no crib bumpers (they’ve even been banned in one state).

Again, why spend so much money on something that is not only unsafe but will get peed on?

black and white photo of newborn baby
“Awwww” in black and white

A Disclaimer About Baby Items You Don’t Need

There’s no shame if you love, use, or want some of these products. Different strokes for different folks and all.

I don’t want anyone to feel that they have to get these products. Or that they’re not prepared enough or won’t be good caregivers without them. There’s enough pressure, as is, to keep up with the Joneses. Let’s not involve baby accessories in that inane comparison rigmarole.

toddler offering newborn a book
“Hey, have you read this?”

Do you have any products to add to this list? Or what about baby stuff that you absolutely loved and needed? Leave it all down in the comments, help other new parents out. In the same spirit, share this article.

Happy nesting!


megan imhoff



Megan writes everything on Ish Mom. She possesses a bachelor's degree in psychology, a flair for theatrics, and a whole lotta nerve. She lives in the Midwest (and loves it) with her wonderful husband and three young boys.

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